SAN ANTONIO – Details surrounding the deaths of a family of six are continuing to unfold after their bodies were found in a Stone Oak home.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus gave the latest update on the case late Thursday, saying the family, including their pets, were found dead inside a vehicle in a garage at the home in the 100 block of Red Willow.
While SAPD has yet to release certain information, including names, amid the investigation, here’s what we know so far:
‘Heavy, noxious fumes,' cryptic note were at the house
Officers were first dispatched to the home around 10:30 a.m. Thursday for a welfare check.
When officers arrived, they entered the home and smelled “heavy, noxious fumes” coming from inside the residence and immediately backed out. Emergency medical services were called to clear the officers because “we didn’t know what the smell was first off,” McManus said.
The fumes were later identified as carbon monoxide, and all officers were cleared by EMS.
A cryptic note with military jargon was found on the doorway. After interpretation, officers found the note said there were “bodies or people inside of the home, animals were in the freezer, and do not enter,” McManus said.
McManus says it doesn’t appear to be an accident
McManus said robots were deployed, as officers believed the home was “rigged” or “booby-trapped” with explosives.
After they found no evidence of explosives, police entered the garage in the evening and found the family in the back of a small SUV.
The husband and wife were both in their 30s and their four children ranged from 11 months old to 4 years old, police said. Two cats were also found inside of a basket in the vehicle’s front seat.
“I don’t have any further information or explanation on what caused it,” he said.
McManus said evidence suggests that the six deaths were not an accident and appear to be a suicide through carbon monoxide poisoning.
‘There are no words to describe’ scene
It is unclear how long the family had been dead before they were discovered.
“It’s the whole picture. it’s the adults, the children, the pets... There are no words to describe that."
McManus said it’s likely the deaths occurred between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The man did check into work on Wednesday.
Not much known about family from neighbors
Neighbors said they hardly saw the family, according to McManus.
The family moved into the house in January. McManus said he does not know where they moved from.
Red Willow is located in The Heights at Stone Oak, a gated community.
McManus said police had only been to the area once in the past, and it was for kids playing in the street. He didn’t specify if those kids were with the family.
The father was in the military
The man was in the military, but McManus did not provide his military branch.
McManus said coworkers of the father, who was working from home, were not able to reach him all morning, as he’s required to contact them each day.
It is unclear if the man was working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Joe Arrington, public information officer for the San Antonio Fire Department, said the note was intended for 25 streets but it was sent out to a “much broader area."
He said it was a technical error and they’re investigating it.
SAPD, the FBI, the SAFD and the SAFD HAZMAT team were on scene because of the hazard.
Below is video of residents evacuating the area: