Murder-suicide is among several lines of inquiry being followed by police after a mother and her three children were found dead in a Melbourne home.
A 42-year-old woman, her two daughters, aged seven and five, and her three-year-old son, were found dead inside their Tullamarine home about 12.20pm on January 14.
Multiple media outlets have identified the victims as Katie Perinovic and her children Claire, Anna and Matthew.
A 48-year-old man, believed to be the woman’s husband and children’s father, Tomislav Perinovic called emergency services to report the deaths.
He provided an initial version of events after police arrived at the Burgess Street property and was expected to be formally interviewed by homicide detectives on Thursday night.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Robert Hill acknowledged the man was a person of interest but warned against people jumping to conclusions.
“We should not draw any conclusions at this point in time as to his culpability. If one was to do so, that would be grossly unfair,” Hill said.
“We have a long way to go before we can actually understand and appreciate what occurred.”
He said as far as police were aware, there was no history of violence associated with the family.
Hill said a potential murder-suicide situation is being considered as part of the investigation.
“There are a number of possibilities,” he said.
“And that’s one that could possibly be relevant to this event.”
Hill refused to divulge the nature of the injuries suffered by the mother and her children.
“The loss of life is tragic in any circumstances,” he said.
“But when it involves children, it makes it even more heart-wrenching.”
Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Galliott said the situation was “difficult to comprehend”.
“This will have long-lasting effects on the police that attended, on extended family, the community, the neighbourhood, the emergency services and everybody else involved,” he said.
No one else is being sought over the deaths and there is no risk to the community.
Neighbours of the family were shaken by the tragedy.
“I used to see the children, they used to play in the cubby house at the back. It’s really sad.” one told reporters,
Another said “They were beautiful, a lovely family. This is going to be felt for a very, very long time – not just the adults but the kids. The kids are really going to feel this”.
Neighbour Marie Groves told the ABC the family attended her daughter’s birthday party last year.
“It’s so close to home, these are people who’ve spent time in my home, my kids love their kids,” Groves said.
“How am I going to tell my kids?”
She said Ms Perinovic was a physiotherapist who had only recently returned to work after taking time off to care for Matthew.
According to the Herald Sun Ms Perinovic left the clinic “unexpectedly” three months ago.
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Callum Godde in Melbourne