A mother accused of bludgeoning her two young daughters to death then attempting to take her own life abruptly stopped doing the school run weeks earlier.
Tiana Djurasovic, 6, and her ‘inseparable’ sister Mia, 10, were found dead in their Perth home about 5.50pm on Friday.
Their mother Milka Djurasovic, 38, was found two hours later in a beach carpark with self-inflicted wounds. She faced court on Monday charged with murder.
A bloodied hammer was found near the girls’ bodies by their father when he arrived back at the suburban Madeley house, ‘and cried out in pain’ at the horrific sight, neighbours said.
Mia Djurasovic, 10, and her sister were found dead in their Perth home, allegedly bludgeoned to death by their mother Milka
Philip Couper, whose 10-year-old daughter Mia was best friends with the eldest girl at school, said the mother had recently stopped doing the school run and hadn’t been seen.
‘My wife Terri used to spend a lot of time with the mother but Milka has pulled away from the school since early this term,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Either their dad or grandfather then did the school runs. Something must have happened but I don’t want to speculate.’
Neighbours also said Djurasovic, a nurse, had not been seen at the family home in the northern Perth suburb of Madeley in several days before the girls’ deaths.
One of them, Gordana Sousak, described the horrific scene after speaking with Mia and Tiana’s grandfather.
‘He got the call from [the girls’ father] Nenad telling him what has happened,’ she told the West Australian.
‘He found a bloody hammer near the little girls. I couldn’t believe it.’
Mr Djurasovic was heard screaming outside after coming home to find Tiana lying dead on the floor and Mia in the laundry.
Tiana Djurasovic, 6, (pictured) and her older sister Mia were found dead in their Perth home
Mr Couper, a One Nation Party staffer, said parents at Ashdale Primary School were shocked that Djurasovic was accused of such a hideous crime.
‘People are just trying to understand why because as far as everyone knew Milka was a lovely mum,’ he said.
‘Milka loved her girls, she was a great mum. We don’t know how this could have happened.’
Mr Couper said his wife and Djurasovic used to have regular coffee dates after the morning school run but they hadn’t talked since early last month.
He said Ms Couper went through all her texts with Djurasovic and didn’t find any indication of family problems or mental illness.
‘Terri talked to Mia D’s father and grandfather at school last week and they didn’t mention anything either,’ he said.
Mr Couper said Ashdale school was in mourning on Monday when he and his wife went to lend support to other parents.
He said parents were called into a meeting that morning to talk about how to tell their children the news if they didn’t already know.
‘It was a mess – teachers, students, and parents were distraught. Terri hugged a lot of the kids as so many were upset,’ he said.
In the wake of the girls’ deaths, flowers, cards and teddy bears have been seen outside the Madeley house (pictured)
Neighbours of the family said they had never showed any signs of trouble and appeared to be a happy family
Mr Couper said his daughter Mia was traumatised and withdrawn after finding out her best friend was dead by overhearing Ms Couper crying on the phone.
‘We treated Mia D as part of our family and now my daughter can’t even see her to say goodbye,’ he said.
‘Her grandfather would always give her a hug or a high five when he picked the girls up or dropped them off at school.’
‘Mia wants to go to the funeral but I don’t think that’s a good idea. The school will do something and that will be better for her with all her friends there.’
Mr Couper said his daughter left a teddy that says ‘I love you’ among floral tributes outside the Djurasovic family home.
He said the alleged murders had ‘broken the community’ and even police were crying outside the house after seeing the scene inside.
Mr Couper said it was a ‘hard week’ for his family as his cousin Shannon Sanderson, 48, was badly injured and her husband Dean killed in a zipline accident last Tuesday.
The Adelaide couple were on holiday in Cape Tribulation, just north of Cairns, when a cable snapped, sending them plummeting about 16m into the rainforest below.
Mia Djurasovic (pictured), 10, was found in her Perth home alongside her younger sister
Mr Couper said he returned from a work trip to London on Friday and heard the news of the little girls’ deaths hours later as his family was still processing the accident.
He earlier took to social media to express his shock in a heartwrenching post after the girls’ names were published on Saturday night.
‘Our family is close to the Djurasovic family as our Mia, Mia D and her sister Tiana D (6) were close and they only played together at school a few days ago,’ Mr Couper wrote.
‘The sisters were inseparable and only a few months ago, Mia D attended our Mia’s 10th birthday party, and the photos are a surreal moment in time as all the kids were so happy.’
He said his wife Terri has since reviewed recent messages with the girl’s mother as their young daughter tries to recall recent interactions with girls and their family.
‘In our dealings with the family we had no idea of any troubles or concerns,’ Mr Couper wrote.
Mr Couper said it was a ‘hard week’ for his family as his cousin Shannon Sanderson, 48, was badly injured and her husband Dean (pictured together) killed in a zipline accident last Tuesday
‘Our daughter is very distraught and upset that neither Mia D or Tiana D will be at school on Monday and neither will she get her daily hug from Mia D who was like a big sister to all the girls.’
‘Understandably our Mia is asking why, and questions Terri and I never thought we would have to answer.’
‘To Mia and Tiana D, we sincerely pray and hope that the Lord has you both in his arms, that you are not suffering anymore and most importantly know how much you are loved and will be sadly missed.
‘Mia has asked me to let you know that she loves you and misses you both so very much.’
Forensic officers remained at the tragic scene at a Madeley home on Sunday morning
Djurasovic had a bedside court hearing from hospital on Monday where her voice cracked as she said her name and confirmed she understood the charges.
She was cleared to be released from hospital and will be taken into police custody and transferred to Frankland Centre psychiatric facility for assessment.
The accused murderer will front Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court again on November 27.
One neighbour told WAtoday the Serbian couple never showed any signs of trouble and appeared to be a happy family.
‘They kiss and everything, go on holidays with the kids together,’ she said.
‘[The girls were] beautiful, beautiful, I can’t believe this.’
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