Mother Charged With Killing 3 Daughters Weeks After Moving to New Zealand

A mother was charged Friday with killing her three young daughters weeks after moving to New Zealand, the Associated Press reported.

New Zealand police did not give the women's name immediately, but the Stuff news outlet reported that she was Lauren Dickason, the mother of the three children who were killed.

Dickason, a doctor, had just moved to the country from South Africa with her daughters and husband, Graham Dickason, an orthopedic surgeon, AP reported. Emergency officials responded to an incident at the family's new home in the South Island town of Timaru, where they found a woman Stuff reported to be Lauren Dickason and hospitalized her in stable condition.

The woman allegedly killed her 6-year-old daughter Liane, as well as her 2-year-old twins, Maya and Karla, police said, noting that they previously provided inaccurate ages for the children. The family had been living in housing provided for medical professionals near the Timaru Hospital for less than a week, AP reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

New Zealand Police
A mother was charged Friday with killing her three daughters after emergency services discovered her and the three dead children in their new New Zealand home. Above, armed police guard the Masjid-E-Bilal mosque in Glen Eden on September 4, 2021, in Auckland, New Zealand. Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Stuff reported that Graham Dickason returned home just before 10 p.m. Thursday and found the bodies of his daughters.

Neighbors Karen and Brad Cowper called police when they heard a man screaming and crying, Stuff said. The neighbors said they asked the man if he was OK but he didn't respond other than to say: "Is this really happening?"

Police said they weren't looking for any other suspects.

"Look, whenever our police staff face a tragedy like this, you cannot help but take it personally. A lot of us are parents, we have our own children, and the human side of us comes through," said Police Superintendent John Price.

Nothing on Lauren Dickason's social media pages over recent months when she was living in Pretoria, South Africa, indicated anything was amiss. She posted pictures of her family and of bakery treats, and wrote about COVID-19, urging people to get vaccinated. In May, she marked the couple's wedding anniversary on Facebook.

"Happy 15th wedding anniversary Graham Dickason. What an adventure. We have truly created a beautiful family and had many good times together," she wrote. "May the next years be more blessed, more happy and may the kids let us sleep."

Her Facebook page says she went to high school in Pretoria and studied medicine in Cape Town.

New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the killings were "absolutely tragic" and his heart went out to everybody associated with the family.

Inspector Dave Gaskin, the Aoraki area commander, said the deaths were "incredibly distressing" for residents of Timaru, particularly after five teenagers from the town were killed in a car crash last month.

Woman Charged in New Zealand
A mother was charged Friday with killing her three daughters after emergency services discovered her and the three dead children in their new New Zealand home. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images