Deputies with the Elyria Police Department were performing a well-being check on the residents of the home on Willow Park Road Wednesday morning when they discovered the five bodies, the department said in a press release.
Detectives said more details will be released later but at this time, the incident appears to be a murder-suicide. Investigators are working closely with the Lorain County Coroner’s Office to determine a ruling cause of death, the release said.
Elyria Police Captain Bill Pelko told local outlet Lorain Morning Journal the bodies recovered were those of two adults and three children who were living in the home. The family dog was reportedly also found dead.
News photographer Bruce Bishop posted a video of police officers at the scene of the family home on Twitter. Bishop cited police as saying the three children were aged between 6 and 12.
A neighbor told The Courier Daily she heard something that sounded like firecrackers going off Tuesday night at the home, as well as the screaming of children, but didn’t think it was due to gunshots.
The neighbor didn’t think much of it at the time and thought it was just several children playing in a pool and some random fireworks. After learning about the shocking family tragedy, she told the outlet, “now I know why they were running around screaming.”
Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield said “it is with great sadness” to share the news about the loss of the family, according to a statement on the city’s official website.
“It is with great sadness that we share this tragic news,” Whitfield said. “This has been a challenging year—to say the least. Never did we imagine having to share the news that we’ve lost one of Elyria’s families in this way.”
“Elyria mourns with their family and friends who woke to such tragic news. My heart is broken for this family in particular the children,” the mayor continued. “I cannot imagine the pain those close to them must feel and we send our deepest condolences and are here to support them and any of our residents who need our help.”
The city statement reminded local residents about the many mental health organizations that are available to provide aid to those in need.
“If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or mentally, please connect with one of the following supports,” the statement reads. “Studies show that most people with mental health challenges get better and many recover completely.”
The identifies of the deceased will not be released until family members are notified, police said. The department added that there is no threat to public safety or a suspect at large.
The city of Elyria is approximately 23 miles west of Cleveland.