Community preparing for the festive season receives devastating shock
Eight children, ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years, were found dead inside a home in the northern Australian city of Cairns on Friday.
Police went to the house in the suburb of Manoora after receiving reports of an injured woman, the Associated Press said. On arrival, the police found the bodies of the children inside the residence. They were reportedly stabbed.
The 34-year-old woman, believed to be the mother of seven of the children, is currently being treated for her injuries, according to authorities. Police said they are unable to confirm her relationship to the victims, however, and added that she is not in custody for the time being.
The Queensland Ambulance Service says the woman had a wound to her chest, and is currently in stable condition after being taken to he hospital.
Dozens of police vehicles are at the scene, according to the ABC.
Cairns detective inspector Bruno Asnicar, speaking to reporters at around 4.30 p.m. local time, said the identification of the children is an ongoing process and more details on that front might emerge on Saturday. Asnicar also said that there were no formal suspects as yet. “Everybody who’s had any involvement in the past two or three days is a person of interest, but we’re not identifying particular suspects at this stage.”
The top police official said it was “right up there” with the most serious cases he had dealt with in his career.
“These are trying days for our country,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened.”
Friday’s incident comes four days after a gunman took more than a dozen people hostage at a café in Sydney, resulting in three deaths including his own.