Four children and three adults were found dead at a Western Australian rural property on Friday, May 11, in a mass homicide that has shocked the nation. Police have revealed details about the tragic shooting that tragically claimed the lives of loving members of a respectable family.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson refused to go into the specifics of the investigation but during a press conference on Saturday, May 12, he said that police have ruled out any outside involvement in the shooting. In other words, detectives are now treating their investigation as a mass murder-suicide.
“Police do not believe any other person is involved in these crimes. Police are not searching for any other suspect,” he told reporters on Saturday.
Dawson said the victims appeared to be residents of a rural home in Osmington near the Margaret River. The property had a main house and a shed converted into living quarters. During the press conference, he also revealed the names of the victims who are yet to be formally identified.
Peter Miles, 61, was found outside the property slumped in a chair on his veranda. His wife Cynda, 58, was found inside the main four-bedroom house. The couple’s daughter Katrina Miles, 35, and her four children — Taye, 13, Rylan, 11, Arye, 10, and Kadyn Cockman, 8 — were found inside the converted shed, which had its own garden, double carport, and chook pen at the back of the main house, reported Herald Sun.
Police confirmed all the victims had gunshot wounds. Officers also recovered three rifles licensed to Peter Miles on the property.
“I will confirm that all seven deceased suffered gunshot wounds,” Dawson said, reported the newspaper.
“This is a complex criminal investigation. We’re treating this as a matter in which clearly six persons are the subject of a homicide.
“A seventh person is deceased. It is far too premature to come to any conclusive statement about that.”
Police have not confirmed who dialed triple-zero but the two-minute recording is likely to provide some answers for the horrific loss of life.
According to the Herald Sun, Peter and Cynda also have two other children — Neil and Tom — who were found safe and well. Tom, 27, was also a resident at the rural property. He was found at an unknown location.
Police said the investigation will go on for several more days in order to establish what happened and the possible motive for the shootings.
Community in Shock
The close-knit community is shocked beyond words by the family’s tragic death. The family were well known and well liked in their community.
President of Margaret River Shire Pamela Townshend said in a statement that the community has been shocked and rattled by the news.
“This incident has shocked our community to the core,” she said.
“As a small and close-knit community, many people are likely to know or be connected in some way to the deceased.
“What happened today will have a huge ripple effect across our community. Coming together at this difficult time is extremely important.”
According to the ABC, Cynda was friendly and hosted a popular community sewing bees to make environmentally-friendly shopping bags.
“She was always there for us with a big smile and a warm hug, scones, home-made jam, pots of seedlings, baskets of produce, enthusiasm, and love. She touched all our lives,” a spokesperson for the community group Transition Town Margaret River (TMR), which Cynda was part of.
Peter was described by locals as a kind and hardworking man who worked in the farm school at Margaret River Senior High School for more than 20 years.
Details have emerged that recently that Peter was looking for work. He has posted a Gumtree advertisement on Wednesday, May 9.
“I have extensive handyman abilities and experience with a wide variety of farm equipment, can repair fences, and can tidy up the property from storm damage,” the advertisement said.
“I have lived in the Margaret River area all my life and welcome all enquiries.”
Katrina and her four children had moved to her parents’ property in Osmington after she separated with her partner Aaron Cockman, according to the Herald Sun. The four children were homeschooled on the property.
Extended family have expressed shock over the disturbing incident. They released a statement on Saturday afternoon.
“We are devastated by this shocking event,” the statement read, reported the newspaper.
“We are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen.
“We respectfully ask that the community refrain from speculating on the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
“We thank the community for their support and ask that our privacy is respected as we grieve.”