Woman shot son, mother, then self, coroner decides

Staff and wire report


Lawrence County Coroner Russell Noga released the names of the victims in a triple shooting in the city last week, which was discovered by police early Friday afternoon.

He said Ljuba Novosel, 40, apparently committed suicide after shooting her 12-year son, Tomislav Novosel, and 81-year-old mother, Anka Denk. The family lived on South Mercer Avenue.

After an autopsy Saturday, the deaths were ruled a double homicide- suicide. Noga said he believes that the deaths occurred between 11 p.m. and midnight Wednesday.

Police Chief Tom Sansone said the victims were shot at close range. Police found a handgun in the house.

A neighbor called police for a welfare check after one of the family’s cats went to the neighbor looking for food, which was unusual, Sansone said.

Ljuba Novosel, born in Zagreb, Croatia, had a nursing degree from Slippery Rock University and renewed her registered nurse’s license in October. She became an American citizen in 1998.

Zvonimira Fec of Ellwood City, Pa., sister of Ljuba Novosel’s ex-husband, said Tomislav was an altar boy at a local church.

“He was supposed to serve Sunday,” Fec said tearfully. “My brother lived for his son.”

Tomislav was a New Castle Junior-Senior High School seventh-grader who loved to play baseball. He would have been 13 on Feb. 4.

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