An Australian in remote New South Wales has killed his three children and himself in car by turning on carbon monoxide.
He had been known to be a violent man, it is said.
A neighbour discovered the bodies of a 44-year-old man, an 18-month-old boy, a five-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy in a four-wheel-drive near a house on the Pericoe property, in remote New South Wales Friday, police said.
The car had piping connecting it to a generator. It is believed they were drugged before dying from exhaust fumes.
Aerial footage taken of the property showed pipes connected to the car's exhaust.
About 50 kilometres from the nearest town, Pericoe is a loose collection of houses strung out across kilometres of dirt road deep in a dense forest.
Just days earlier, the children's father Gary Bell, 44 was released by police on bail after being taken into custody for bashing his wife.
Mrs Karen Bell was too distraught to speak about her loss, reports said. Bell had been with his wife - who was 11 years his junior - for almost two decades, according to relatives.
The family had lived at Two Creeks, which has attracted people wanting an alternative lifestyle since the 1970s, for about five years.
Karen Bell's father described his son-in-law as a violent man who had a volatile relationship with his wife, but who had not been known to be violent with the children.
"I never liked him," he said. "But she (Karen) always went back to him."
Neighbours and those close to the couple described the horrific abuse suffered by his wife over several years with her injuries including black eyes, grab marks on her arms and bruises to her body.
"My neighbour phoned up last Saturday, there was a disturbance, there was a lot of screaming and yelling while she was on the phone to the house, she was being assaulted," neighbour Tony Boller said.
It is understood Bell was released on bail by police on Sunday because he had just one prior charge of assault in 2005.
"He was charged with assault and released, he demanded the children, he must have picked them up from there when he left the police station," a friend who declined to be named said.
"It has been bad, somehow he convinces her, he was a very good liar.
"He had been caught before kicking her into the ground.
"He should never have been released (this week), it is not the first time this has happened.
"I wanted to ring up DOCS (Department of Community Services)...you don't know how much I regret that I haven't. They were beautiful, sweet little kids."
Premier Morris Iemma of New South Wales said the police inquiry would scrutinise the actions of the government department that knew the family was troubled.
The DoCS says it knew an apprehended violence order had been taken out against Gary Bell days before his body was found, along with his three dead children.
"This is a terrible tragedy and we're doing everything to investigate what happened and why," Iemma told reporters in Sydney.
He said the actions of the department in the days before the gruesome find would be scrutinised.
"There's a police investigation underway and DoCS is obviously cooperating with that.
"We need answers, we're going to find out what happened exactly and why and what was the response, what action was taken, and that will determine the course (of action) as we go forward."
DOCS were notified this week but in a statement last night the department attempted to defend itself with claims it was unable to reach the family.
"In recent days, DOCS was informed that police had taken out an Apprehended Violence Order against the children's father," the statement said.
"DOCS staff subsequently made a number of attempts to contact the family to provide support but was unable to reach them."