Police confirm deaths of three siblings in Timaru amid homicide investigation

Police have confirmed three siblings - two aged 2 and one aged 6 - have died at a property in Timaru.

Detective Inspector Scott Anderson told media the family involved had arrived from South Africa in the last week.

A woman located at the scene by emergency services was transported to Timaru Hospital and is in a stable condition.

No one else is being sought in relation to the deaths.

Aoraki Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin then spoke to the tragedy.

He said it was a very difficult time for the community - particularly following the fatal crash recently where five teens were killed.

The police forensic team have arrived at the property and a scene examination will get underway...
The police forensic team have arrived at the property and a scene examination will get underway soon. Photo: George Heard/NZ Herald

Police would not be drawn on who found the dead children.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said whenever police faced a tragedy like this it was hard.

"A lot of us are parents," he said.

But he assured his investigation team were professional and determined to do their best for the victims.

Price would not say more about the family, including whether either parent of the dead children were working.

He said it was "unfortunate" that there had been two tragedies in Timaru in such a short time.

He could not say when the names of the children would be released.

"We have to notify next of kin and you can appreciate that will take some time... my understanding is their next of kin are overseas in multiple countries."

He said the family had a network of friends in New Zealand but no family.

Detectives launched a homicide investigation after the children were found dead at a residential address overnight.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price. Photo: George Heard/NZ Herald
Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price. Photo: George Heard/NZ Herald

The Otago Daily Times understands the woman in hospital is a suspect.

A hospital staffer told the New Zealand Herald that while everyone was discussing what happened no one knew who was involved or the details.

They said a number of specialists and surgeons from overseas lived in the Queen St houses where the deaths took place but he did not know who was occupying them currently.

A homicide investigation has begun and Anderson said emergency services were called to the address shortly after 10pm last night.

"On arrival at the scene, emergency services found three deceased people. One other person has been hospitalised," Anderson said in a statement.

Police were speaking with people from the property and no one else was being sought.

"Police are still in the very early stages of this enquiry and no further information is available at this stage."

Police stand guard at the scene of the Timaru triple homicide. Photo: George Heard/NZ Herald
Police stand guard at the scene of the Timaru triple homicide. Photo: George Heard/NZ Herald
This morning, a police guard was at the cordoned-off house in Queen St. The house is near the intersection with Memorial Ave,  just metres from Timaru Hospital.

Neighbours Jade and Rob Whaley, who live next to where the incident took place, told Newshub they were watching television last night when they heard moaning and then later "loud bang".

Mr Whaley believed the moaning was from the alleged offender.

"They were moaning and making lots of noise like, 'What have I done', and walking around the back of the house."

About 10 police cars arrived at the scene.

Mrs Whaley said she and her husband heard banging about 9.40pm yesterday, followed by sobbing and moaning.

"We went outside and realised it was coming from the neighbour property."

Police are continuing their investigations at the property this morning. Photo: supplied
Police are continuing their investigations at the property this morning. Photo: supplied
There are three units on one side of the Whaley's property and while outside saw a fellow neighbour speaking to a person at the back unit.

They later found out the neighbour called police, who arrived at 10pm.

"Everything got cordoned off. We weren't sure what had happened, but we knew something significant had happened."

Later on, they said they saw a woman get supported while she walked into an ambulance.

The units next door are often leased by the nearby hospital.

"They have staff that work at the hospital live there. Often people are there on short leases, three to six months. We think the people at the back flat were fairly new."

The deaths come after Timaru was hit hard last month when five teenage boys - all aged 15 and 16 - were killed in a crash.

Timaru Mayor Nigel Bowen said the community will be devastated by the latest 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?

"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."

WHERE TO GET HELP

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

If you need to talk to someone else:

• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.

 

 

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