Three siblings — two boys and a girl, all under the age of 10 — have been found slain in a home in Merritt, B.C., RCMP confirmed late Sunday, hours after they cordoned off a street and warned people to stay indoors.


Merritt RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore says: 'We have nobody in custody and we have no prime suspects at this time.' ((CBC))

Police said in a news release that the slayings, at a mobile home where a woman lived with her children, were not a random act.

"They're three siblings," Const. Tracy Dunsmore told reporters late Sunday in Merritt, about 270 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

"We have nobody in custody and we have no prime suspects at this time. There is no manhunt underway."

Dunsmore said the cause of the deaths would not be known until a coroner completes the autopsies. More police have been called in to investigate, including the RCMP major crimes unit from Kelowna.

Police were not releasing any information about the family. "They are fairly new to Merritt, so we don't know a lot about the family," Dunsmore said.

Police arrived at the mobile home in early afternoon and quickly cordoned off Telemon Place, warning people in the area to stay indoors. Police combed the home and went door to door to interview neighbours, asking whether they had heard or seen anything on Saturday night.

Later in the day, police told people they could leave their homes.

Neighbours upset

Dan Robins, lives across the street from the mobile home, told CBC News that the woman moved in "about six months ago" with her children. He said that, a week or so ago, a man started to visit. He said he saw the man flying a kite with the three children in a park on Saturday.


An RCMP truck is parked outside the trailer in Merritt, B.C., where the bodies of three children under the age of 10 were found on Sunday. ((CBC))

Robins said he saw the mother leave the home around 2 p.m. Sunday for about 10 minutes. According to Robins, she came back in and then quickly left the trailer. He said she was taken away in an ambulance.

Shannon Ware, who lives near the victims' home, said she hadn't been told which family was affected but could guess because — besides hers — she knows of only one other family with three children in the neighbourhood. She said the youngest child in the other family was in kindergarten.

"Nobody really knows what's going on and everybody is really upset and sad for them," Ware told the CBC.

"I have three kids at home myself. The kids went to school with the victims, I am sure, and everybody's pretty upset. My daughter was a buddy reader to one of the kids."

Late Sunday, people were walking around the neighbourhood. Telemon Place was open to local traffic only, while yellow police tape still surrounded the home where the children were found.

With files from the Canadian Press and Bonnie Allen