Alvaro Camara and his wife Connie had been separated for just six months, but a bitter custody battle over six-year-old Juliana Camara and her brother, 18-month-old Julian Camara, caused Alvaro to snap.
On Father’s Day, Alvaro killed both his children before hanging himself in his bedroom.
The Daily Mail reported that police were conducting a routine welfare check on Alvaro on the evening of Father’s Day, but when the house was in darkness and no-one answered, they guessed he was still out with the children.
Neighbors say Alvaro had only lived in the complex for a few months, but that the arguments between he and his wife were very intense. Then, due to the concerns of worried relatives, deputies from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department arrived at Alvaro’s home on Monday morning and discovered a horrifying scene.
They climbed through a window and found Camara hanged, with his children dead nearby.
The arrangement was for Alvaro to drop the children off at their mother’s house on Sunday night, but he never showed up.
On Tuesday, Connie Camara released a heart-wrenching statement.
“I sit, swaddled in my daughter’s blanket and drinking tea from a cup that reads ‘I love you mom,’ fighting back the tears and struggling to make sense of this horrific situation. I sought help on numerous occasions and said so many times my children were in danger in their father’s care and I didn’t receive the urgent help I needed to save them.”
At this point it is not clear how the children died, but what is known is that Camara and his ex-wife Connie were involved in a bitter custody dispute before the double murder-suicide.
Jessica Espada is Alvaro Camara’s sister, and she spoke to KTVU at the scene, saying that she didn’t know what was going through her brother’s mind when he committed his senseless violence.
“We aren’t sure why he would do such a thing. I just wish he would have sought some help or just come to us or something.”
Jessica said her brother “loved those children very, very, very much” and noted that the way he sometimes “looked at his children, it was a love that was unexplainable.”
Neighbor Julia Poncia said residents had been getting to know the children, and described them as a “beautiful little girl and a sweet little boy.”
“He was great, he’d have the kids visit, and ride bikes, and he’d take them to the park. You just never know about people.”
Santa Rosa Police Lt. John Cregan called the situation an “absolute tragedy,” especially since these two children lost their lives over a custody dispute.
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) June 20, 2017
Detectives spent all day Monday at the scene trying to work out a timeline to determine what might have triggered the sudden violence. According to Cregan, initial investigation uncovered a “volatile arrangement” between the parents after they separated, coupled with “heated verbal exchanges.”
But still there didn’t appear to be any warning of the violence.
Neighbor Carrie Buchholz said Camara seemed nervous and “a little anxious” over the weekend, and that she had noticed the police attending the home “off and on.” Overall, though, Buchholz described Alvaro Camara as “always really good with the kids.”
The Camaras had been together for eight years, and only filed for divorce a few months ago.
Detective intend to continue to explore the timeline of events in more detail, to ascertain when the children were last seen alive, in order to have a better idea of when and how the killings occurred.
— Debora Villalon (@DeboraKTVU) June 20, 2017
According to People Magazine, police believe the murders occurred sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
Connie Camara’s statement was signed, “A mother no longer able to hold her children.”
She asked that her story be spread “to raise awareness that is much needed to help prevent anything like this happening to another family.”
[Featured Image by Carsten Schlipf/Shutterstock]