Six Oklahoma Children Killed In Apparent Murder-Suicide

The deaths of six children and two adults whose bodies were found in an Oklahoma house fire are being investigated as a murder-suicide, police said Friday.

Officials discovered the bodies Thursday afternoon when they responded to a fire at a single-family home in Broken Arrow, a town outside Tulsa. When firefighters arrived at the home, they found two adult bodies in the front of the residence with “significant injuries” that appeared to be “criminal in nature,” said Fire Chief Jeremy Moore. As they made their way to the back of the house where the bulk of the fire was burning, firefighters found the bodies of six children, ages 1 to 13, in a bedroom.

The two adults, whose names have not been released, are now the prime suspects in the death investigation.

“It became apparent to all fire personnel on scene that this was a crime scene,” Moore told reporters during a news conference Friday. “Getting to the scene yesterday and seeing the looks on our first responders, the faces of my firefighters, absolutely broke my heart.”

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The cause of death has not yet been determined, but police said they do not believe any of the victims died as a result of the fire. Broken Arrow Police Chief Brandon Berryhill did not respond to questions about whether the victims suffered gunshot or other injuries, but told reporters that officers recovered firearms from inside of the house

The situation is being investigated as a homicide “due to the nature of where they were found and where the juveniles were found,” Berryhill said.

Ethan Hutchins, a spokesman for the police department, told BuzzFeed News on Saturday that both adults are still considered suspects. “We are awaiting the medical examiner’s investigation so we can release the identities of the adults,” he said in an email.

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When asked if police had previously received any domestic violence calls at the location, Berryhill said it had been “numerous years” since the department had received a call about this residence. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, which manages the state’s child and family services, did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.

Kris Welch, the property owner, told the Tulsa World that the family had been renting the house to him for the past eight years. Welch said they looked like “a normal family.”

“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” she said Friday as investigators went through the house.

Welch told the local newspaper that he “got some weird vibes” from the man and said the woman was calm. “He hardly ever spoke, honestly,” she said. “I’ve always wondered that.”

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Traci Treseler, who said she lived on the family’s street for two years, told the Tulsa World that she had thought there were only three children and was surprised to learn there were three more.

“They were nice kids, but they always kept to themselves,” Treseler said.

She said she had invited the children to her daughter’s birthday party last year, but they declined the invitation and did not take away the bags of candy left over from the party.

“They said they couldn’t accept anything from anybody,” Treseler said. “It seemed a little strange at the time. But then I thought maybe it was just safety.”

Dial 988 in the US to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Trevor Project, which offers suicide prevention help and resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. Find other international suicide helplines at Befrienders Worldwide (befrienders.org).

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