A mother found dead along with her husband and two children had reportedly confessed to a neighbour that she and her husband were struggling to cope raising their two children who are reported to have been severely autistic.
Fernando Manrique, 44, his wife Maria Claudia Lutz, 43, and the couple’s two children Martin, 10, and Eliza, 11 along with their family dog were all found dead inside their home at Davidson on Sydney’s Northern Beaches yesterday.
Investigations into their deaths are still being conducted by police but it is being widely reported as a murder-suicide.
The bodies were all discovered in separate parts of the home, with no signs of a struggle or any violence, the Sydney Morning Herald are reporting poisoning was a possible cause of death.
"I have specifically spoken with the homicide investigators and our investigators and we have come to a unanimous view that it is far too early to make such a conclusion," Northern Beaches Local Area Command Superintendent Dave Darcy told reporters on Monday afternoon.
"There is no one telling us at the moment what has happened. There is no one who has witnessed it."
Ms Lutz was said to be a devoted mother to her two children, and an active member of the school community and neighbourhood. Which is why when she didn’t show up for tuckshop duty on Monday morning, her two children were not at school and she could not be reached, alarm bells were raised.
Neighbour Sonja Perry, who lived in the same street as the family, says she knew that the family were struggling to cope.
“(She) used to tell me how hard it was on her and her husband having two kids who were deaf and dumb,” Ms Perry told The Manly Daily.
“She said it was a heavy thing on her heart and some days she found it impossible to cope. They were South American, such a lovely, friendly couple. I’m shocked to see police cars outside their house. They never caused anyone problems.”
The principal of St Lucy’s school where the children attended and where Ms Lutz volunteered much of her time, Warren Hopley, described the mother as a “happy woman” and an active member of the community.
“We’re absolutely devastated by the news. This is an exceptional family who have been at the school here for six years,” he told media outside the school.
“Mum was a very active member of the school. Almost the cornerstone of the school in many ways. She would always attend meetings, ran the tuckshop here. She was a very busy woman and (the children) had very high, complex needs.”
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