In what Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called an act of heroism, officers ran into the open and scooped them up, not knowing if the boys were dead or injured.
"This is something that will live with them forever," police spokesman John Elder said of the officers. The boys were placed in squad cars and pronounced dead.
Police tried to make contact with someone in the house for several hours before they broke through the door. A woman's body was removed from the home and a man was found dead inside, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Elder described the case as a domestic-related homicide.
The house is in Schladetzky's name; the couple's divorce was finalized this summer.
Late into the evening, the boys' backpacks and gloves remained in the snow, leaving Wiltscheck to wonder if the brothers had been going somewhere with their father.
The boys were "full of life," he remembered. "Just dynamite kids."
Schladetzky was an intelligent, funny and gracious person, said Anna Pratt, who had worked with her at the Hennepin Theatre Trust. It was there that Kjersten met her husband, David, Pratt said.
The couple filed for divorce in November 2018 and a dissolution of marriage was granted in June 2019.
Kjersten Schladetzky was a box office manager for the Theatre Trust some years before landing a job at the American Museum of Natural History, which required her to travel to and from New York City.