BOSTON (CBS/AP) — New details emerged Thursday as authorities continue to investigate the deaths of a mother and two young children who were found unconscious near a Boston parking garage on Christmas Day. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins described the case as a likely double-murder suicide at a news conference.
She identified the woman as 40-year-old Erin Pascal, of West Roxbury, and the children as 4-year-old Allison and 16-month-old Andrew.
"The evidence collected thus far suggests these deaths. . . . were very likely a double murder-suicide," Rollins said.
According to Rollins, it appears the two children fell first, then the mother.
WBZ-TV Chief Investigate Reporter Cheryl Fiandaca reported that, according to sources, there appears to have been a domestic dispute between the children's mother and father. Sources said Pascal took the children from their home, and the father called police to say that she appeared to be suicidal.
The woman and children were found unconscious Wednesday around 1:30 p.m. on a sidewalk near the Renaissance Parking Garage. They were rushed to an area hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Rollins said the investigation is still in the "very early stages" and authorities aren't aware of any kidnapping complaints at this time.
"Yesterday the unspeakable happened and now we are all struggling to make sense of the circumstances surrounding these deaths," she said.
Video showed police looking at an SUV, with several doors wide open, parked on the top level of the parking garage, which is adjacent to the Ruggles MBTA rail station. Police said there were two child car seats in the vehicle.
Neighbors are struggling to make sense of what happened.
"It's one thing to take your own life, but defenseless kids, it's horrible," said Seth Tenenbaum who lives just a few doors down from the family. He remembers seeing the children in the yard.
"It's just a horrible story," Tenenbaum said. "I mean the defenseless kids. Anybody who could do that to their own children - it's terrible"
The medical examiner's office will determine the ultimate cause of death.
The investigation will be headed by Rollins's office, with assistance from Boston Police, Boston Transit Police, and Northeastern University Police. The deaths occurred outside a garage that is owned by the school.
Northeastern University added patrols at all of its garages earlier this fall. Yesterday, the university closed off access to the upper floors of the structure.
Rollins confirmed this was the same parking garage where Boston College student Alexander Urtula jumped to his death in May on the day he was scheduled to graduate. Another suicide happened at the garage earlier in the month.
"If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, there are services available to help you," Rollins said. "This Christmas Day tragedy demonstrates the urgency of addressing mental health, suicide and homicide."
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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