Dad kills kids on Father’s Day, hangs self

A Santa Rosa police lieutenant said a father who killed his two young children before hanging himself in his Slater Street home had custody of the children on Father’s Day Sunday and was to return them to their mother that evening.

The father and the children’s mother, who lived in unincorporated Sonoma County southwest of Santa Rosa, were involved in a custody dispute and the father violated a custody order, Lt. John Cregan said.

The mother went to look for the children at the Slater Street residence Sunday evening but they were not there, Cregan said. She notified the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Sunday night and sheriff’s deputies found the bodies in the Slater Street home and notified Santa Rosa police around 9:50 a.m. today, Cregan said.

The father, whose identity has not been released, was found hanging in a bedroom and the two children were nearby, Cregan said. The cause of the children’s deaths is pending autopsies, which may be conducted Tuesday.

The couple was married but separated, and police are investigating whether there were any prior calls for service at the 40-year-old father’s Slater Street home, Cregan said.

Police believe the father killed his children then killed himself, Cregan said.