Boy saw ‘mum kill her five children’
A young boy has been forced to watch his mum allegedly murder his five siblings before she attempted to take her own life.
Police said the bodies of the five children were found in an apartment in the German city of Solingen, half an hour east of Dusseldorf on Thursday after their grandmother alerted authorities.
Police rushed to the home after the grandmother said she was worried about her daughter but the officers were too late, finding all five children dead in the apartment.
The children killed were three girls, aged one, two and three, and two boys, aged six and eight.
"We were informed shortly before 2pm that five children had died and this has unfortunately been confirmed," police spokesman Stefan Weiand told AFP.
"At the moment we believe that the 27-year-old mother appears to be responsible."
The mother then took her surviving 11-year-old son on a train to Dusseldorf, where she tried to take her own life.
She remains in hospital, under police guard, in a serious condition.
The 11-year-old boy is being cared for family after witnessing the two horrific incidents.
Police are "investigating" if medication was involved in the children's deaths, Mr Weiand said.
"The cause of death is to be determined through investigations and autopsy," police added.
The 11-year-old boy travelled with his mother by train to Dusseldorf, police said, and later continued on alone to his grandmother in Mönchengladbach.
It is unclear whether he witnessed her suicide attempt.
"At the moment we can only assume that, we do not know for sure," Mr Weiand said, adding that police were still trying to clarify details.
Emergency services have flooded the apartment building, spending all of Thursday at the home.
Police said more than 40 officers were dispatched to the scene.
"The family tragedy in Solingen fills me with great sadness and at the moment my thoughts and prayers are with the five small children whose lives were snatched from them so terribly early," Herbert Reul, interior minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told news agency DPA.
Solingen is a city of around 160,000 people located directly between Dusseldorf and Cologne.
Tim Kurzbach, the mayor of Solingen, also mourned their deaths on Facebook.
"I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news that five dead children have been found in our city," he said.
"I mourn these five lives. And my sympathy goes to all people who are close to the children and the family.
"Today is a day on which we in Solingen are very sad because an act took place that struck us deeply."
Solingen police chief Markus Röhrl told news agency DPA that the incident was a first for the normally quiet region.
"Nothing like this has ever happened to us in the Bergisch region," he said.
Originally published as Boy saw 'mum kill her five children'