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Deaths of mother, 2 children near Phoenix may be murder-suicide, deputies say

By Doug G. Ware
Video: 12 News Arizona

GILBERT, Ariz., July 26 (UPI) -- A 45-year-old mother who was found dead, along with her two children inside their Phoenix-area home, appears to have orchestrated a murder-suicide, investigators said Tuesday.

The bodies of the woman, her 17-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter were found inside the home Monday night after police received a suspicious phone call, which reported a vehicle backed up to the house that appeared to be funneling exhaust fumes into the home through a window.

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When Maricopa County sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene, they found the woman and children already dead inside. Officials said each was killed with a shotgun.

Authorities are investigating the deaths, but they are almost certain it was a murder-suicide.

"It's a sad situation. ... It's a big problem facing our county and our country, domestic violence," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

Investigators said the shotgun was found near the woman's body. Because all three were shot dead, it wasn't immediately clear why the vehicle's exhaust was piped into the home, located near Chandler Heights and Recker Roads in Gilbert, located about 20 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix.

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Neighbors told local news media that the woman's husband, the father of the children, had recently moved out of the house.

Deputies said a dog was also inside the home, but was uninjured.

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