The family of three young girls found dead in a suspected homicide in New Zealand’s Timaru had been in the town for only a week, police say.
Three young girls have been found dead at a home on New Zealand’s South Island, prompting police to launch a homicide probe.
The seven-year-old and her three-year-old twin sisters were discovered after emergency services were called to a property in Timaru shortly after 10pm last night.
The family had been in town just a week, after arriving in New Zealand from South Africa and completing quarantine.
A woman was taken to Timaru Hospital and is in a stable condition.
Aoraki Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said it was a very difficult time for the community, following a fatal crash that recently killed five teenagers.
“Police are working with our partner agencies to ensure that support is wrapped around those most directly affected by the tragic events of last night, and the wider community, and we urge anyone who needs support to reach out,” he said.
Timaru Mayor Nigel Bowen said the community will be devastated by the tragedy.
“Again, unfortunately. It seems that the community has had layers of tragedy with the five young lads that passed away so it‘s really tough,” he said.
He said the area where the incident took place is “just a typical suburb” and relatively quiet.
“I think the community will be thinking, why is it happening to a place like ours?” he said.
“There’s a lot of pressures on society at the moment, you have to question the support around mental health, are we doing things right in this country? I question that we’re probably not.”
Neighbours have told local media they heard a man screaming and crying, saying, “Is this really happening?”
Jade Whaley, who lives next door to where the homicide took place, told the NZ Herald that at about 9.40pm last night, she and her husband heard banging, followed by sobbing and moaning.
“We went outside and realised it was coming from the neighbouring property,” she said.
“Everything got cordoned off. We weren’t sure what had happened but we knew something significant had happened.”
Later on, they saw a woman being supported while she walked into an ambulance.
She said they also saw a man taken away in a police car.
Karen and Brad Cowper, who also live in a neighbouring property, told Stuff they called police just after 10pm when they heard a man screaming and crying.
“We asked him if he was OK. He did not respond to us and was screaming and crying hysterically,” Ms Cowper told the publication.
She said they heard the man saying, “Is this really happening?”
– with NZ Herald