A mother and her four children are dead along with two other adults after a mass shooting tragedy in Western Australia.
Police found the bodies of Katrina Miles and her four children, aged between 8 and 13, at the home in Osmington, Margaret River. The terrible discovery came after a phone call to police at 5.15am on Friday.
Three guns were also found at the family farm, which belonged to Ms Miles’ parents, Cynda and Peter Miles. They are also dead. All seven are believed to have “gunshot wounds”, police say.
Ms Miles’ body and the bodies of her children, were found inside a shed on the property that had been converted to living quarters. The children – Taye, 13, Rylan, 11, Arye, 10, and Kadyn Cockman, 8 – all had autism. They moved to their grandparents’ farm with their mum after the breakdown of her marriage to their father.
There is no suggestion that the children’s father, builder Aaron Cockman, had any knowledge of or involvement in the shootings.
Friends have described Ms Miles as a devoted mother to her children, who “worked tirelessly to provide them with everything they needed”, according to media reports.
“I always admired her for her strength. The kids were kind, gentle, smart and beautiful children,” the friend told reporters.
‘We are devastated’
Police are treating the terrible event as a murder-suicide, but are not looking for any suspects. Shocked relatives have released a statement to the media.
“We are devastated by this terrible event,” the statement read. “We are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen.
“We respectfully ask that the community refrain from speculating on the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
“We thank the community for their support and ask that our privacy is respected as we grieve.”
Police describe mass shooting as ‘significant tragedy’
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson earlier described the shock events as a “significant tragedy”. It is Australia’s worst mass shooting in more than 20 years.
“The loss of any life is tragic, but four children and three adults… This is a significant tragedy,” he told a press conference on Friday.
“Police are currently responding to what I can only describe as an horrific incident in Osmington, 20km north-east of Margaret River.
“It is early in this investigation. Based on what we do know, this is clearly a tragedy.
“This devastating tragedy will no doubt have a lasting impact on the families concerned, the whole community and, in particular, the local communities in our south-west.”
Mum Central understands that Homicide detectives have travelled to the property from Perth and the forensic investigation will take days or weeks.
Ms Miles’ parents bought the rural property in 2014 and dreamed of running it as a sustainable farm for their daughter and grandchildren. They called it ‘Forever Dreaming’.
“This is a complex criminal investigation. We’re treating this as a matter in which clearly six persons are the subject of a homicide,” Commissioner Dawson said, on Saturday,
“A seventh person is deceased. It is far too premature to come to any conclusive statement about that.”