SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Police in San Jose are investigating the scene of a heartbreaking murder-suicide involving a mother and her two young sons Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.
Police said officers responded to the scene shortly before 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday after a report of a suicide on the 5300 block of Dent Avenue in San Jose.
Officers arrived to find an adult female and two young male children dead inside an apartment. Homicide detectives arrived at the scene and were in the process of collecting evidence.
Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, detectives officially declared they were investigating the incident as a double murder-suicide.
Officials said the adult female was a mother who killed her 4 year-old and 7 year-old sons before committing suicide. There were apparently no signs of trauma on the two boys, leading detectives to believe that poison may have been used.
“Very lovable mother to the kids, so this is a shock,” said the family’s neighbor Maria Flores.
Neighbors told KPIX that the two children lived in the apartment with their parents. They said the father had been away for several days and returned home Wednesday afternoon to find the two boys’ bodies on a bed and the mother dead. The father went outside screaming for help and grabbed the first person he could find.
“I was asking what was going on and that’s when he ended up telling me that his kids were dead and the wife was hanged, I don’t know, in the bathroom? So when he told me that, that’s when I decided to run out,” said neighbor Wendy Vejar.
“He was just saying, ‘Help me, help me, my boys are dead!'”
A next door neighbor of the family said he called police after hearing screams from children that he described as “horrifying.”
The neighbors said the mother had lost her job at a nail salon last year and hasn’t worked since. They said her husband was also unemployed. They believed she may have suffered from depression.
“She was the one that brought the bread home, so I think it played a huge part,” said Flores.
A police source also told KPIX that the couple may have been going through marital problems.
But of all the neighbors, Rick Dandridge lived next door the family. He said he would hear the couple yelling at the at their boys at least twice a week. He said at one point, he called 911 because he feared for the boys’ safety.
“The kids were screaming, I mean we went over there, both my wife and I, and said, you know, ‘Enough is enough,'” he said. “I mean, it was bad, it was horrifying.”
The couple, who did not speak English very well, lived at the complex for about three years, according to neighbors. Their boys played with the other kids who lived in the community nearly everyday.
Now neighbors are trying to wrap their minds around the tragedy and the loss of the boys they have watched grow up.
“Very happy, very cheerful, always running around knocking on my door, seeing if my son could go out and play,” said Flores. “Just so happy, very lovable kids.”
San Jose police said they would provide additional details as they became available.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Sergeant T.J. Lewis or Detective Brian Meeker of the San Jose Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283.