Police: Mother, 2 children aged 3 and 5, slain in Arkansas

An apartment building in Little Rock, Arkansas, where a 24-year-old mother and two children, aged 3 and 5, were found shot to death on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017.

CBS affiliate KTHV

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two young children and their 24-year-old mother were slain in their apartment, Little Rock police said Wednesday. Officer Steve Moore said in a news release that officers called to a reported suicide found the bodies of 5-year-old Alayah Fisher, 3-year-old Elijah Fisher and their mother, Mariah Cunningham, on Tuesday afternoon. 

Moore said investigators have determined that the three are homicide victims. 

The bodies have been sent to the State Crime Lab to determine the cause of death. Police say they were called by a relative who found the bodies after being notified that the children had not arrived at school. 

Police haven't provided a motive or said how the victims died. Moore said he didn't know when the killings happened.

Cunningham's car was not in the apartment building's parking lot, reports CBS affiliate KTHV. Police recovered the vehicle late Tuesday, but would not say where it was found or whether its absence was related to a possible suspect in the case. 

Police Lt. Michael Ford said the children's father, Gregory Fisher, 29, has been arrested on unrelated charges but that he is not a suspect in the slayings "at this time."

Pulaski County jail records show Fisher is being held on charges of failure to appear and bond revocation.

The city had been on pace for a record-high homicide rate not seen since gang wars in the early 1990s, but the violence tapered in August when additional patrols were introduced. That month, two children died in what police said was a double murder-suicide.

Moore said earlier that the three Tuesday deaths push the city's total for 2017 to 55.

In 1993, Justice Department records show Little Rock had 68 deaths attributed to murder or manslaughter.