Santa Rosa police say father killed his 2 kids, then himself

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Rosa police are investigating a double murder-suicide they say involves a man and his two young children.

Police say a 40-year-old Santa Rosa father took the life of his very own children, 6-year-old girl and an 18-month-old boy, then took his own life on Father's Day.

"It's a tragedy anytime two kids lose life in custody dispute," said Lt. John Cregan with the Santa Rosa Police Department.

The children's mother had a custody agreement with her estranged husband, and allowed a visitation on Sunday.

VIDEO: Santa Rosa PD says couple had 'volatile' custody arrangement
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Santa Rosa police are investigating a double murder-suicide they say involves a husband and their two young children.

"The father took custody of the kids on Father's Day," explained Lt. Cregan, adding that the mom went to pick up the kids in the evening and that when no one was there, she called to report a child custody violation.

According to officials, they received a call for assistance from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department reporting their discovery of multiple deaths in the 700 block of Slater Street in Santa Rosa.

The mother, who lives in Sonoma County, called the sheriff's department.

Sheriff's Office deputies say they made multiple attempts to contact the father and check the welfare of the two children. The deputies eventually entered the residence and located both children, and their father, deceased in the residence. The father was found hanging in a bedroom with the two children nearby. The cause of death of the two children is still undetermined, pending an autopsy.

Jose Maranda heard screams from distraught relatives. "Honestly, I open the door and heard someone screaming very loud, like something bad happened," he said.
"She was screaming, 'I want to see my daughter. They've killed everyone,'" shared one neighbor.

Police are now reviewing court records involving the couple's child custody case. They say it was volatile.

"Early indication say they had a volatile arrangement following their separation. And there certainly has been heated verbal arguments," said Lt. Cregan. But no history of violence.

Santa Rosa Police Department is working in collaboration with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department in the investigation.

The names of the deceased will not be released at this time. The father was identified as a 40-year old Santa Rosa resident.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is encouraged to call the Santa Rosa Police Department Violent Crime Investigation Team Sergeant Josh Ludtke at 707-543-3695.
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