California Girls, 9 and 12, Killed by their Father in Murder-Suicide Amid Custody Battle
Sara and Sophia Rouin were found unresponsive in the back of their father's car
A California father and his two young daughters were found dead on New Year’s Eve in what police say was an apparent murder-suicide.
Hamdy Rouin, 46, was found dead in the driver’s seat of his car in West Sacramento, California. His daughters, Sara, 9, and Sophia, 12, were found unresponsive in the back seat. They were rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
According to police, Rouin was involved in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife, Amy Hunter. The couple had split in December 2014, and the divorce became final in late 2016. Hunter received custody of the two girls.
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The deaths came just days before Rouin faced a court date on January 2 for allegedly violating a protective order, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
Police did not disclose the girls’ causes of death, but told the Sacramento Bee that the girls and their father did not have visible stab or gunshot wounds.
Police say an autopsy will be conducted to figure out how the three family members died.
• For more compelling true crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard.According to court records, Rouin was arrested in August 2017 for violating a restraining order as well as for contempt of court.
Police said the girls’ mother was cooperating with investigators, and was not present at the time of the deaths.
“Obviously, she is very distraught,” West Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Roger Kinney told reporters. “But she is cooperating with investigators. She was not involved it. This is just sad, very, very sad.”
A Gofundme page has been established to help the mother with funeral expenses.