SAN ANTONIO – A family of six was found dead in an SUV in a garage at a home in Stone Oak on Thursday, San Antonio police said.
The call began as a welfare check Thursday morning, when officers were first dispatched to a home in the 100 block of Red Willow after a friend of one of the residents notified police that he hadn’t heard from him in a while.
Upon arrival, officers entered the home and smelled “heavy, noxious fumes” coming from inside the residence and immediately backed out of the house, according to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
Authorities found a note containing military jargon and a cryptic message on the front door, police said. Officers were able to interpret the note, which claimed that there were “bodies or people inside of the home, animals were in the freezer, and do not enter,” McManus said at a news conference.
Police were eventually able to enter the garage of the home Thursday evening and discovered the family of six dead, McManus said.
The husband and wife were both in their 30s and their four children, ranging from 11 months old to 4 years old, were all found dead in the vehicle, police said. The victims have not been identified.
Two cats were also found inside of a basket in the vehicle’s front seat, according to McManus.
McManus said evidence suggests that the six deaths were not an accident and appear to be a suicide. He also said no explosives were found at the scene like previously suspected.
The family moved to the neighborhood, a far North Side suburb about 30 minutes from downtown San Antonio, in January and the man is in the military, McManus said. It’s not clear which branch.
The fumes that initially caused officers to exit the home were later identified as carbon monoxide. All officers have been cleared by EMS.
Before finding the bodies, officers used drones and a robot inside the residence and found what they initially believed to be possible explosives. McManus said the home could be “booby-trapped.”
No explosives were found in the home, McManus later said.
Joint Base San Antonio sent KSAT the following statement regarding the case:
“A U.S. Army soldier assigned to the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade, Joint Base San Antonio - Fort Sam Houston, was found deceased in his home in San Antonio, June 4. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased. Additional information will be released pending next of kin notification. The case is currently under investigation by the San Antonio Police Department and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.”
In the late afternoon, residents on the North Side were sent an emergency alert to stay clear of the area because of a possible chemical release.
Residents located within 150 yards of the home on Red Willow were evacuated.
San Antonio police, the FBI, the San Antonio Fire Department and the SAFD HAZMAT team are on scene of the chemical hazard.
Below is video of residents evacuating the area:
We’ll bring more details as they become available.