After a night of shock and mourning in the city of Solingen, near Dusseldorf in western Germany, the focus is shifting to investigations into the deaths of five children found in their apartment.
Authorities intend to provide initial details at an afternoon press conference. A homicide panel has been put in charge of the case.
Following media reports suggesting that the children’s 27-year-old mother was a likely suspect, police have already said they were investigating the possibility that the children were killed using medication. They also said they would be seeking to question neighbors and locals.
“We are assuming there was a criminal offense and will question the mother but she is not fit for questioning at the moment,” police spokesman Stefan Weiand said on Thursday.
The mother was receiving medical attention in hospital late on Thursday, after throwing herself in front of a train at Dusseldorf’s main station. Police had received a tip by phone from the children’s grandmother, who said she feared her daughter had killed her children and was set to take her own life as well. They found the bodies of three girls — aged 1, 2 and 3 — and two boys aged 6 and 8.
Another boy, aged 11, was alive and with his grandmother.
State premier pledges thorough investigation
The leading politician in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Christian Democrat Armin Laschet, said on Friday morning that “our authorities will do everything to bring clarity to the case.”
He also expressed sympathy for survivors and those affected.
“This makes you set aside the daily grind and think about the truly important things in life,” Laschet said.
Police confirmed that they had made contact with the children’s father, but spokesman Weiand said that they could offer no further information at that point.