The murders have caused widespread shock in Germany. In Solingen, an industrial city about 13 miles east of Düsseldorf, candidates have suspended their campaign for an upcoming regional election. A protest against the far right scheduled for Friday has been replaced by a commemorative event in the city’s main square.
“Our authorities will do everything to investigate this matter,” said North Rhine-Westphalia State Governor Armin Laschet. “The hearts of many, many people are with the family, the grandmother, the surviving boy and all those affected by this event.”
Wuppertal police said the children’s grandmother, who lived in another town, alerted authorities to a possible crime shortly before 2 p.m. local time on Thursday. Officers who arrived at the family’s home in Solingen within minutes forced the door open and found three girls aged one, two and three and two boys aged six and eight dead in their beds.
There was no sign of physical violence, said Marcel Maierhofer of the Wuppertal police, who is leading the homicide investigation.
Investigators have so far determined that the woman’s 11-year-old son had left for school as usual on Thursday morning. His mother then picked him up from school and told him to go to his grandmother’s house, Maierhofer said.
The woman sent her mother a message that she “could not continue” and cited marital problems with the 28-year-old father of her four youngest children, the investigator said.
“About the motive, we can only speculate that the underlying reason emerged from the broken marriage,” Maierhofer said. “The couple had lived apart for a year.”