Dec. 19, 2014: Police block the road outside a house where eight children have been found dead the Cairns suburb of Manoora, Australia (AP)
Eight dead children and a woman suffering from serious stab wounds were found inside a northern Australian home Friday, Australian police say.
The children, with ages ranging from 18 months to 15 years, were stabbed to death at the house in Cairns, a suburb of Manoora, The Guardian reports
Queensland state police were called to to the home at 11: 20 a.m. local time after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries.
The 34-year-old woman is in stable condition and is receiving treatment for her injuries, police said.
Detectives were speaking with neighbors and police had not determined the relationship between all of the children and the hospitalized woman.
But 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.
Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said the police who reported the incident were initially ‘distressed.’
“These events are extremely distressing for everyone, of course, and police officers aren’t immune to that, we’re human beings as well,” Ansicar said. “But the police we have here are very highly trained and professional.. I’m very happy with the response.”
The tragedy 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.”
The incident is not thought to be terrorism related, the Cairns Post reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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