Mother and Three Children Found Dead at Home 'In Suspicious Circumstances'

A mother and her three young children have been found dead inside their family home in what police described as suspicious circumstances.

Katie Perinovic, 42, her two daughters Claire and Anna, aged 7 and 5, and 3-year-old son Matthew were discovered at a property in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday afternoon, local media reported.

The children's father and husband of the woman, Tomislav Perinovic, 48, was on the scene at the Tullamarine home with medics when police arrived at about 12.20 p.m.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Robert Hill confirmed the four family members died in suspicious circumstances, describing the deaths as "heart-wrenching."

"We know that it involves a husband, a wife and three children," Deputy Hill told reporters. "The husband has survived, the wife and three children are now deceased. Investigators do not believe there are other parties involved at this stage."

"We have one male who's assisting us with our inquiries and assisting us alone. There was no other party... there is no other party that we seek at this point in time."

"But we should not draw conclusions that that male may be culpable for this offending," the police chief stressed. "We are well and truly—we've got a long way to go before we can understand and appreciate exactly what occurred."

Police did not confirm what injuries the children and their mother suffered but were able to say that the 48-year-old man was uninjured and had called emergency services.

"I understand that it was the male person at the address who contacted emergency services," Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Galliott told reporters.

Neighbors remembered the victims as kind and polite, and described the area as a peaceful and quiet place to live.

"The kids were always dressed nice, she [the mother] was always polite, she'd say hello... really friendly," one neighbor told 9News.

Tara Jenkins, who lives around the corner in Fisher Court, said she would often see the mother take her children to a nearby park. "[She] was... a very loving mother," Jenkins told The Age. "We would often say hello to each other as our kids played. She was always really cheerful and kind... just a lovely woman."

Neighbor Marie Groves described the situation as "incomprehensible."

"I'm still trying to process what has happened," she told the publication. "Katie was a very loving and doting mother. The situation is incomprehensible to me... We always caught up for play dates... she was over here or we went over to their place. Our daughters did dance classes together. Katie did everything for those children. She was very protective of them and always wanted what was best for them."

Groves said the mother was a physiotherapist who had only recently returned to work after taking time off to care for her young son.

"It's so close to home," she added. "These are people who've spent time in my home, my kids love their kids."

Deputy Commissioner Hill said there was no history of domestic violence associated with the family.

"This is a tragic event, the loss of life is tragic in any circumstance but when it involves children, it's even more heart-wrenching," he said.

Asked if it could be a murder-suicide situation, he said there were "a number of possibilities and that's one."

A crime scene was set up on Thursday afternoon and the Homicide Squad is currently overseeing the investigation.

Victoria Police said they are not looking for anybody else in relation to the deaths and the family's next of kin has been notified.

"I just want to make it very clear that we're not—and should not—be drawing any conclusions at this point in time as to what occurred. We simply don't know," Deputy Commissioner Hill stressed.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Galliott said officers investigating the incident would be supported considering the traumatic circumstances of the case.

"This will have long-lasting effects on the police that have attended, on extended family, the community, the neighborhood, the emergency services, and everybody else involved," he said. "They'll be lifelong memories that they'll have to deal with... so we will make sure that the welfare of our members and the emergency services that attended are paramount."

Several police cars and ambulances were on the scene with authorities expected to be at the property into the evening.

Newsweek has contacted Victoria Police for comment.

Melbourne Mother and Children Deaths
File photo: Police tape set up at a crime scene in Melbourne, Australia, as a mother and her three young children have been found dead at a home in the city's north-west on Thursday. Robert Cianflone/Getty