Mom, 42, found dead with her three young children with 'gruesome' injuries in her family home appeared happy night before death - as cops refuse to rule out murder-suicide and interrogate dad who rang triple-0
The neighbors of a mother who was found dead in her home alongside her three young children said that the night before she died, the mother appeared happy.
Emergency services were called to the house on Burgess Lane, Tullamarine, northwest of Melbourne, on Thursday at around 12.30pm.
The bodies of 43-year-old Katie Perinovic and three children - Claire, seven, Anna, five, and Matthew, three - were found there.
The children's 48-year-old father, Tomislav Perinovic, is a 'person of interest' and supports police with investigations and is yet to be formally interviewed.
On Wednesday night, neighbor John Constantino chatted with his mother-of-three and said that nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
'At around 7.30pm, I was watering the garden and she walked past and she seemed to be content and all,' he told The Age.
'She asked me what I was going to do tomorrow, and I said,' Maybe I should mow the grass,' and she said,' Sure, it's not going to be a hot day.'
Mr. Constantino said that Ms. Perinovic was a 'beautiful' woman whose children frequently patted her dogs when they walked by her home.
A crime scene at the Perinovic property was created by homicide investigators, with police sources reporting that the family sustained 'gruesome' injuries.
Police also stated that several different scenarios, including murder-suicide, are being studied.
At the very early stages of the inquiry, Acting Deputy Commissioner Robert Hill said the family "died in suspicious circumstances."
'As to who is guilty of the death of the four persons who are yet to be decided, and at this point in time we can not draw any conclusions,' he said.
He said it would be 'grossly unjust' to presume guilt on the grounds that Mr. Perinovic supported the police.
'We just need to learn the truth, and sadly we don't know them, but they're going to be full of time,' he said.
Before we can actually understand and appreciate what happened, we have a long way to go.
The father looked 'highly distraught' on the street when emergency services arrived at the scene, it is understood.
'Standing on the lane, he looked distressed,' said a witness.
Dep Comm Hill, who refused to comment on the extent of the injuries to the family, said investigators do not think at this point there are any parties involved.
He said police are not expecting charges to be laid tonight, but the chance could not be eliminated.
The police said the group is not at risk and there has been no history of family violence affecting the family.
The deaths that have shaken what they describe as a peaceful place have left residents stunned.
Marie Groves, a neighbor, said Ms. Perinovic was a devoted mother whose children frequently came to her house with her children for play dates.
'She was a well established, stunning and very tall woman, very gorgeous and always had a smile on her face (and was) always talking to everyone every time she walked by,' she told The Australian.
Tara Jenkins, who lives around the corner from the family, said that the 'devastating' turn of events had 'completely gutted' her.
'These children were so young, just beautiful little children. '[Their mother] was always with them alone, and she was a really caring mother,' she said to The Generation.
As our children played, we would always say hello to each other. She has always been genuinely cheerful and kind... Only a beautiful lady.'
A neighbor who lives next door said that he heard the emergency crews' commotion but was told to stay inside.
John Constantino, who also lives nearby, said he talked on Wednesday night with a woman who lived in the building.
He referred to her as a 'good lady' who was 'polite' and 'very nice.'
The police helicopter hovered over his house for an hour on Thursday, another neighbor named Johnie said.
'That's a little too much for such a local neighborhood,' he said.
As they launch their investigations, officers remain at the scene.
'A man is helping the police with their investigations,' read a police release.
A crime scene has been established and there are detectives from the Homicide Squad attending.
The specific circumstances surrounding the incident are under review, and when it is necessary to do so, we will provide more detail.
'There is no continuous danger to the environment at present.'
Aerial photographs show a strong police presence outside a home on Thursday afternoon.
The street has been officially cordoned off.
A local called 3AW to confirm the police presence at around 1 pm on Burgess Street.
'I estimate that there are ten police cars now,' he said.
There were also ambulance crews pictured at the scene.