Tragedy struck Australia for the second time this week after eight dead children and a woman suffering from stab wounds were found inside a home in the northern city of Cairns on Friday, police said.
Queensland state police said they were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries. When police got to the house, they found the bodies of the children inside. The victims range in age from 18 months to 15 years.
The incident comes as Australia is still reeling from the shock of a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe earlier this week. On Monday, a gunman burst into a cafe in the heart of the city and took 18 people inside hostage. Two hostages were killed along with the gunman after police stormed in 16 hours later in a bid to end the siege.
“The news out of Cairns is heartbreaking,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement. “All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened. This is an unspeakable crime. These are trying days for our country.”
Police said the 34-year-old woman, who has not been named, was found inside the home and was suffering from stab wounds to the chest. They said she was in a stable condition.
Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said he had no further information, including how the children were killed.
Police said they had not fully determined the relationship between all of the children and the hospitalized woman, but they believe she is the mother of most of the children. They have not said whether the injured woman is a suspect.
Lisa Thaiday, who said she was the woman’s cousin, said the children were all siblings and that the woman was their mother. Thaiday said another sibling, a 20-year-old man, came home and found his brothers and sisters dead inside the house.
“I’m going to see him now, he needs comforting,” Thaiday said. “We’re a big family … I just can’t believe it. We just found out (about) those poor babies.”
SOURCE: USA Today – Kim Hjelmgaard