Juliana Camara, a six-year-old girl, and her 18-month-old brother, Julian Camara were spending Father’s Day with their dad and should have been home with their mother by Sunday night. When the children didn’t return home, their mother phoned the police, worried about her children. The two children were later discovered dead in their father’s apartment, while he was found to have hanged himself, in a double murder-suicide.

Two children were spending Father’s Day with their dad

According to a report by Fox 2, the incident happened in the one-bedroom apartment of 40-year-old Alvaro Botelho da Camara in a neighborhood close to downtown Santa Rosa.

The six-year-old daughter had reportedly spent Saturday night with her father, and the mother had dropped off the 18-month-old boy at his apartment on Sunday morning. Both children were spending Father’s Day with their father and were supposed to return home that night.

When the two children didn’t return home on Sunday night, their mother phoned the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, worried about her children. The couple was going through a custody dispute at the time.

It was Santa Rosa Police deputies that responded and visited the apartment in Slater Street on Sunday night but were unable to get a response at the door. They then made several attempts to contact da Camara and left a card on his door asking him to contact them, but with no success. When police once again went to the apartment on Monday morning there was again no response at the door, so they climbed through a window to access the apartment.

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They found da Camara dead, having hanged himself in the bedroom and the bodies of the two small children lay close by.

Custody dispute was causing problems for the couple

Santa Rosa Police Lt. John Cregan said in a statement that the couple was still married, but had been separated for some time. Cregan went on to say the couple was having difficulty resolving custody arrangements with their children and the relationship had deteriorated to this point. The Press Democrat quotes Cregan as saying it is not immediately clear how the children died and an autopsy will be run to determine the cause of death.

Neighbors heard arguments coming from the father’s apartment

Sgt. John Ludtke of the violent crimes investigations team said neighbors told the deputies they had overheard arguments ongoing between da Camara and his wife. One neighbor, Julia Poncia, said the two children were very sweet and that da Camara seemed to be a good father, but she added she didn’t know his personal problems.