Neighbours of a mother who was found dead in her home alongside her three young children said the mother seemed ‘happy’ the night before she died.
Emergency crews were called to the house on Burgess Street, Tullamarine, in Melbourne’s north west, about 12.30pm on Thursday.
There they found the bodies of 43-year-old Katie Perinovic and three children – Claire, seven, Anna, five, and Matthew, three.
The 48-year-old father of the children, Tomislav Perinovic, is a ‘person of interest’ and is assisting police with inquiries and is yet to be formally interviewed.
Neighbour John Constantino chatted with the mother-of-three on Wednesday night, and said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
‘I was watering the garden about 7.30pm and she walked past and she seemed happy and everything,’ he told The Age.
Paramedics found the bodies of Katie Perinovic and Claire, seven, Anna, five, and Matthew, three (all pictured). The father of the children, Tomislav Perinovic (left) is assisting police with inquiries
Police said there was no history of family violence involving the family. Pictured: Katie and Tomislav Perinovic with their daughter
Emergency crews were called to the house on Burgess Street, Tullamarine about 12.30pm on Thursday
‘She asked me what I was going to do tomorrow, I said, ‘I might mow the lawn’ and she said ‘yeah, it’s not going to be a hot day’.’
Mr Constantino said Ms Perinovic was a ‘lovely’ woman whose kids would often pat his dogs as they walked past his house.
Homicide detectives have established a crime scene at the Perinovic property, with police sources saying the family suffered ‘gruesome’ injuries.
Police have confirmed they are probing multiple different scenarios including murder-suicide.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Robert Hill said while the investigation is in its very early stages, the family ‘died in suspicious circumstances’.
‘As to who is culpable for the death of the four people that is yet to be determined and we should not draw any conclusions at this point in time,’ he said.
He said it would be ‘grossly unfair’ to assume culpability on the basis that Mr Perinovic is assisting police.
Police and ambulance crews are pictured at the scene in Tullamarine, Melbourne, on Thursday
The bodies of two girls aged five and seven, a three-year-old boy and a 42-year-old woman were found at the property
Police in face masks gather in a group outside a house in Tullamarine, after four people were found dead
Emergency crews were called to the house in Tullamarine, Melbourne’s north-west, on Thursday afternoon
‘We just need to understand the facts, and unfortunately they’re not known to us but will be in the fullness of time,’ he said.
‘We have a long way to go before we can actually understand and appreciate what occurred.’
It’s understood the father appeared ‘extremely distressed’ on the street when emergency serviced arrived at the scene.
‘He was standing on the street, looking distraught,’ a witness said.
Dep Comm Hill, who declined to comment on the nature of the family’s injuries, said investigators don’t believe there are other parties involved at this stage.
He said police aren’t expecting to lay charges tonight but couldn’t rule out the possibility.
Police said there is no risk to the community and there was no history of family violence involving the family.
Dep Comm Hill, who declined to comment on the nature of the family’s injuries, said investigators don’t believe there are other parties involved at this stage
Police said there is no risk to the community and there was no history of family violence involving the family
Residents have been left shocked by the deaths which have rocked what they describe to be a quiet area
The scene at 56 Burgess St, Tullamarine, where a woman and her three young children died
Forensic officers are seen at work at a crime scene in Tullamarine
Residents have been left shocked by the deaths which have rocked what they describe to be a quiet area.
Neighbour Marie Groves said Ms Perinovic was a devoted mother whose children often came to her house for play dates with her kids.
‘She was a well known, beautiful and a very tall lady, very gorgeous and every time she walked past always had a smile on her face (and was) always chatting to everybody,’ she told The Australian.
Tara Jenkins, who lives around the corner from the family, said she was ‘absolutely gutted’ by the ‘devastating’ turn of events.
‘Those kids were so young, just beautiful little kids. ‘[Their mother] was always alone with them and was a very loving mother,’ she told The Age.
We would often say hello to each other as our kids played. She was always really cheerful and kind … just a lovely woman.’
A neighbour who lives next door said he heard the commotion of the emergency crews but was advised to stay inside.
John Constantino, who also lives nearby, said he spoke with a woman who lived in the house on Wednesday night.
He described her as a ‘nice lady’ who was ‘polite’ and ‘really friendly’.
Another neighbour named Johnie said the police helicopter hovered above his house for an hour on Thursday.
‘It’s a bit too much for a local neighbourhood like this,’ he said.
Officers remain at the scene as they commence their investigations.
‘A man is assisting police with their inquiries,’ a police statement read.
‘A crime scene has been established and detectives from the Homicide Squad are attending.
The street has been cordoned off to the public (pictured on Thursday afternoon)
Officers who were called to the scene in Tullamarine stand with police tape on Thursday
The street has been cordoned off to the public
Homicide detectives are investigating after three children and their mother were found dead inside a home in Melbourne
‘The exact circumstances around the incident are under investigation and we will provide more information when it’s appropriate to do so.
‘There is currently no ongoing threat to the community.’
Aerial images from Thursday afternoon show a heavy police presence outside a home.
The street has been cordoned off to the public.
A local phoned into 3AW to report the police presence on Burgess Street about 1pm.
‘I estimate now about ten police cars,’ he said.
Ambulance crews were also pictured at the scene.
‘A crime scene has been established and detectives from the Homicide Squad are attending,’ a police statement said. The scene is pictured on Thursday