Police say they are "trying to piece together what led to this" after a Texas woman found her husband and two young children shot dead last week

December 13, 2017 06:20 PM

A 9-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl shot dead in Texas on Saturday were the apparent victims of a murder-suicide carried out by their father, PEOPLE confirms.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” North Richland Hills police spokeswoman Carissa Katekaru tells PEOPLE. “Detectives are still interviewing family and trying to piece together what led to this.”

On Tuesday, the young victims were identified as Luke Dawson, 9, and his 5-year-old sister, Bree Dawson.

“Initial investigation revealed the father shot the children and then shot himself,” police said in a statement.

The children’s mother, Rachel Dawson, called police shortly after 7 a.m. on Saturday when she found the siblings and her husband, Chris Dawson, dead at their home, authorities said.

The kids were killed with a shotgun, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From left: Bree and Luke Dawson

One of Rachel’s former neighbors and friends, Ariel Borg, said there were “warning signs, but I don’t think anyone could have guessed that this would have happened,” according to TV station KPNX in Phoenix, where the Dawsons lived with their children before a recent move to the suburbs of Fort Worth.

“He was very, very controlling of Rachel, to the extent that after a certain point, he no longer allowed her to be friends with us,” Borg told KPNX of Chris, who had reportedly worked as a surgeon.

“We saw warning signs, but it’s hard to know when to step in,” Borg said. “I just feel like we should have done more.”

“Two kids right here at Christmas time, that’s tough,” Karen Banner, one of the family’s North Richland Hills neighbors, told local TV station WFAA.

“I’ve seen the little kids playing soccer out in the front yard,” she said. “I never did see the dad, I only saw the mother with the little kids, picking them up, taking them to soccer games.”

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Bree, left, and Luke Dawson


Tanner Franklin, who lived across the street from the Dawsons, said he saw them hanging holiday decorations on Thursday, according to the Star-Telegram.

“They’ve been putting up the Christmas lights,” Franklin said. “You come out here and see them with the dad. They seemed normal.”

Police in Texas said a records search revealed they had no prior interactions with the couple at their Texas address.

Another neighbor, Denise Albino, told WFAA, “I just feel sorry, sorry for the whole family. It’s terrible.”

An online fundraiser has been launched on GoFundMe to support Rachel. “Our daughter, sister, niece, cousin, mom and friend had a tragic event this week,” an organizer wrote, adding, “She needs our prayers and support at this time more than ever.”

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