A mother and her three children found dead in their garage died of carbon monoxide poisoning from car exhaust fumes in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said today.
The mother, 33-year-old Robin Parker, and her children, QuaSean DeVon Williams, 11 months, Chonteona Marie Williams, who would have turned 3 on Wednesday, and 10-year-old Cartara Quantae Williams, were found Tuesday by Parker's fiancé, Steve Williams. The children were still in their pajamas.
Steven Williams was the father of the two youngest children.
Medical examiner Charles Garrett, who performed the autopsies, told ABC affiliate WCTI in New Bern, N.C., the deaths were a murder-suicide.
"They all died of carbon monoxide poisoning," Garrett said. "There was a car sitting in the garage with the motor running. I'm told that when the husband broke in the door, he said the car was still running and he turned it off."
Police say Williams discovered the bodies at around 4:30 p.m., when he returned home from work. He had been expecting Parker to pick him up, but had to make other arrangements when she didn't show up.
Authorities said Williams arrived home to find the house locked, and then discovered the four lying on the floor of the garage with the red compact car running. Police say they also found blankets and pillows by the children's bodies.
Community in Shock
Neighbors shook their heads in shock and disbelief as they heard about the tragedy.
"[There] was a lot of commotion," said Kimberly McPherson, a shaken neighbor. "A lot of people in disbelief, not knowing exactly what was going on."
Neighbors said the family had lived in the community for about six months. Lisa Alger and Denise Hyde said they met Parker over the weekend and that she seemed very calm. Alger said her three daughters had been playing with Parker's children just hours before their bodies were discovered.
"It's definitely a tragedy to the community and we're saddened by it," Onslow County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Whitley said earlier. "The only thing we can do is treat it with all the respect due to it."
Meanwhile, Parker's brother found the medical examiner's findings hard to believe. Thomas Parker told WCTI his sister loved the children, and would have done anything for them. He believes someone else is involved in their deaths.
Funerals plans for Parker and the children are still pending. ABCNEWS affiliate WCTI in New Bern, N.C., contributed to this report.