A 40-year-old California man embroiled in a bitter custody battle with his estranged wife killed his two young children around Sunday before hanging himself, PEOPLE confirms.
According to a statement from police in Santa Rosa, officers were dispatched to the home of Alvaro Camara on Monday morning — several hours after he failed to drop his two kids off with their mother.
Officers used a ladder to access an open bathroom window. Once inside, police found the two lifeless children — Juliana Camara, 6, and her brother, Julian Camara, who was 18 months — inside their father’s bedroom, the statement explains.
The father was also found in the bedroom, and investigators say he committed suicide by hanging himself.
The murders happened sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, according to police.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Medical examiners are still trying to determine how Juliana and Julian died.
PEOPLE was unable to reach the children’s mother for comment. Camara’s relatives were also unavailable for comment.
Santa Rosa Police Lt. John Cregan told KTVU, “Our preliminary investigation shows they did have a volatile arrangement following their separation and there have been heated verbal exchanges that we’re aware of.”
Neighbors who were interviewed by ABC7 said Camara came across as a loving father.
“They’re really super sweet kids and he seemed like a really good father,” neighbor Carrie Buchholz told the news station. “He was always playing with them, riding his bike out here with them.”
However, Buchholz told KTVU, “We’ve just noticed he was a little anxious the past couple of days,” adding, “and the police have been here off and on but he was always really good with the kids.”