Woman charged with killing mom, sister tried to stage crime scene, Fairfax Co. police say

WASHINGTON — Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, say they have arrested a woman in connection with the shooting deaths of her sister and mother in a McLean case that was originally characterized as a murder-suicide.

Megan Hargan, 35, was arrested near her home in Monongalia County, West Virginia, early Friday morning. The arrest came after she was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, authorities said.

Major Ed O’Caroll, commander of the department’s major crimes bureau, speaking to reporters Friday described the case as a tragedy and as an example of “domestic violence at its worst.”

The bodies of Helen Hargan, 23, and Pamela Hansen Hargan, 63, were found shot to death inside their McLean house in July 2017. Police initially said it appeared Helen Hargan shot her mother and then turned the gun on herself.

However, O’Carroll said investigators, early on, began to have doubts and determined the crime scene had been staged.

“It was made to look one way,” O’Carroll said of the crime scene. “Our detectives are smart and we realized that that necessarily wasn’t the case, and we followed up on every lead.”

Suspicion fell on Megan Hargan after police learned she tried to make fraudulent wire transfers from her mother’s accounts both on the day of the killings and the day before, O’Carroll said. She was interviewed by police twice, including once on the day of the killings. O’Carroll declined to describe her demeanor or what she said when she was questioned by police.

“I will say that detectives were open-minded from the minute they arrived on the scene till yesterday when we got word of the indictment being authorized,” he said.
“Every lead was followed up on.”

When asked by reporters to explain why the deaths were initially described as a probable murder-suicide, O’Carroll said police were doing their best to give the public the information they had at the time.

The media relations team “did their best to share the way it looked that day,” he said, adding later: “We’ve got a lot of information that comes out from a breaking news event such as this tragedy in our community. We do the best we can to share with our community what we know at the time, what information’s coming from the scene.”

Police released few details of the evidence linking Megan Hargan to the crime, because they are still investigating, and the case remains “active,” O’Carroll said.

Authorities have already recovered the gun that they believe was used in the shootings, O’Carroll said. Fairfax County police are still at Hargan’s home in West Virginia collecting and searching for other evidence, he said.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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