07/09/2013 05:34 EDT | Updated 09/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Rich Saunders' Murder-Suicide Inquiry Offers No Recommendations

DRUMHELLER, Alta. - An Alberta judge says a bitter custody dispute and the fear that he would lose his son probably combined to lead an estranged husband to kill his son and himself five years ago.

Rich Saunders killed three-year-old Colton and took his own life in 2008 while the child was with him for a court-ordered visit.

Their bodies were found in the man's small house in Drumheller, northeast of Calgary, in a room filled with carbon monoxide.

Saunders had been involved in a long and bitter custody dispute with the boy's mother after their marriage failed two years earlier.

Alberta provincial court judge Patrick McIlhargey made no specific recommendations on actions that might prevent similar incidents in future.

He said the murder and suicide were the culmination of several years of animosity and protracted, prolonged, emotional and highly conflicted custody proceedings.

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