A young child’s heartbreaking drawings are still stuck to the front window of the Melbourne house of horrors where a mother is believed to have killed her three children in a murder-suicide.
Investigators on Friday revealed police have formed a ‘preliminary view’ that Katie Perinovic, 42, was responsible for the deaths of her children Claire, seven, Anna, five, and Matthew, three at their Tullamarine home.
Her husband, Tomislav Perinovic, 48, was released without charge and officers do not believe he or anyone else was involved in the awful tragedy, with the family’s bodies found about midday Thursday.
As grieving friends and neighbours gathered outside, crime scene cleaners were today greeted by a yard dotted with an abandoned toy teapot and a child-sized yellow chair.
Meanwhile, the front window featured a haunting reminder of the happy lives the children once lived.
A drawing of the Earth, scribbled by oldest daughter Claire, was stuck there. ‘Save the world,’ it said, alongside a love heart. A faded picture of a rainbow sat next to it.
The bodies of Katie Perinovic and Claire, seven, Anna, five, and Matthew, three (all pictured) were found at their Tullamarine home in Melbourne on Thursday
Haunting reminder: Drawings by the Perinovic’s oldest child, Claire, remain stuck to the Tullamarine home’s front window following the devastating tragedy. A children’s chair sits in the front garden
Claire’s picture of the earth said ‘save the world’ and two love hearts. Another apparently older picture had mostly faded away
Distraught friends and neighbours laid bouquets of flowers for the victims and their surviving relatives on Friday morning, who will have to come to terms with the horror.
Marie Groves, a neighbour and family friend of the late mother, said her children had often played with Ms Perinovic’s. She attended a party at her house for her daughter’s birthday in November – and was unusually quiet.
‘She was more withdrawn than I’ve seen her ever in the past,’ Ms Groves told Daily Mail Australia.
‘There were a few other mums here and they did notice she seemed a bit quiet on that day. But she never mentioned anything like that’.
A devastated Ms Groves said Ms Perinovic was devoted to her children and relied on the support of her mother, who lived locally.
‘Those kids were full of life. They were your picture perfect kids,’ she said. ‘She loved those kids so much and would do anything for them.’
Ms Groves said Ms Perinovic was well-liked and always smiling. Even more tragic was a note left by one of schoolgirl Claire’s friends.
‘Claire was my BFF always,’ the note appeared to say, also describing the little girl as loving and caring.
The father of the children, Tomislav Perinovic (left) has been released without charge following the deaths
The devastating note that a child friend of Claire Perinovic, seven, left on the front lawn
Police officers maintained guard as locals left flowers for the late family on Friday morning
Kevin and Clare Harrison, who live opposite the family, cried when they heard the news about their neighbours.
‘We shared coffees, we have sat on their front veranda and just laughed at the kids and the way they just ran around in the yard,’ Mr Harrison told The Australian.
‘I used to talk to Tom while he was teaching Matthew how to ride a bike … everyone around here was involved with them because of the kids.
‘Christmas Day, every year we have given the kids Christmas presents because we have known them from birth.’
The Harrison’s described the Perinovic family as ‘the friendliest, loveliest people’ and said they may ‘never get over’ the incident.
Pictured: Claire, seven and Anna, five. The sisters were found dead in their Melbourne home on Thursday
Bouquets were piling up out the front of the blond-brick property on Friday morning
Crime scene cleaners arrived at the well-maintained home in hazmat suits and forensic gloves on Friday
Other distraught neighbours, Phil and Lillian Funaro, who have been living on Burgess Street for 35 years, said the tragedy was a ‘shock to the system’.
Mr Funaro described how he used to see the family walking to the park.
‘I mainly saw Kate and the three kids, couple of times saw the husband with them, always like mother hen with the three young kids at the back.
‘She was very friendly, always there with a smile on her face.
‘I had two hip replacements done not too long ago, and she’s a physiotherapist and she saw me walking with my walker, and she stopped me and said, ‘how are you going Phil’,’ Mr Funaro told Daily Mail Australia.
A mourner leaves a bouquet of flowers for the two little girls, infant boy and their mum
Mr Furnaro said there were no signs of anything wrong at the house.
‘You wouldn’t pick it, you would not pick it.’
‘It’s so sad, so tragic when it involves children, Ms Funaro added.
Mr Funaro described the neighbourhood as close-knit.
‘We all know each other quite well. We look after each other. When one goes on holidays, everyone knows where they are going.
‘We don’t live in each other’s pocket.’
A pink toy teapot was visible from the street, sitting in the lawn. Tragically, it will never again be collected by its owner
Parish priest Peter Hoang confirmed the shocking news to members of the local religious community.
‘As is being reported in the media … Katie Perinovic, her daughters Claire … and Anna and son Matthew, aged 3, died tragically at the family home on Thursday,’ Father Hoang wrote.
‘We are deeply shocked to receive this news and extend our sincere sympathy and prayerful support to Tom, the Perinovic family and all those struggling to comprehend this sudden and tragic loss of life … As a Catholic, faith-filled community, we draw strength and solidarity from our Loving God at this sad and challenging time.
‘May God’s grace be found in the kindness of those supporting the Perinovic family. May we also take some comfort in our faith that God’s arms are already welcoming Katie, Claire, Anna and Matthew to their eternal home.’
Left to right: Claire, seven, and Anna, five, and son Matthew, three
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. Thomas the Tank Engine toys and hung up towels were visible in the lawn
A kindergardner pays her respects with mum and dad on Friday morning – news difficult enough for parents to grapple with
Detectives and general duties police left the home at 12:55 pm on Friday.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Galliott last night said officers would remain at the ‘gruesome’ crime scene last night.
He refused to elaborate on the mother’s injuries or those of her children.
Ms Perinovic, who also goes by the surname Blazevic, unexpectedly left her job at Glenroy Physiotherapy Centre about three months ago, The Herald Sun reported.
Neighbour and friend, Marie Groves, (pictured) said Ms Perinovic was very ‘withdrawn’ and quiet when she saw her at the end of November at her daughter’s birthday party
It’s believed she may have fallen into a depression in the lead up to her death.
She had worked at the clinic for seven years, according to the website.
Ms Groves said she still hadn’t processed the shocking news.
‘It hasn’t sunk in that I’m not going to walk out the door and see her walking past to the milk bar and picking up pizzas with the kids,’ she told the ABC.
‘She was Katie, smiley face Katie, who would always stop and chat.’
The family’s neighbour John Constantino said he chatted with the mother-of-three the night before she died and noticed nothing 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.
‘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’.’
Neighbours were left devastated upon hearing the tragic news about the family
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.
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.’
The father appeared ‘extremely distressed’ on the street when emergency services arrived.
Dep Comm Hill said investigators don’t believe there are other parties involved.
Police said there is no risk to the community and there was no history of family violence.