DANBURY, Connecticut (WABC) -- A mother and three children, victims of an apparent triple-murder suicide, were found dead at a home in Connecticut Tuesday night.
Authorities say the bodies of 36-year-old Sonia Loja, 12-year-old Junior Panjon, 10-year-old Joselyn Panjon, and 5-year-old Jonael Panjon were found by police doing a wellness check at 10 Whaley Street in Danbury.
"The children all appear to have died by strangulation, and the mother's suspected cause of death is asphyxia by hanging," Danbury police said in a statement.
Preliminary findings, released pending an official autopsy, indicate Sonia Loja strangled her three children before killing herself, police said.
According to investigators, the mother and children lived with two other adults who were not at the home when police arrived.
Officers went inside the single-family residence Tuesday night and discovered the bodies of the three children.
They then found the mother in a shed in the backyard.
The investigation remains active and ongoing.
Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito responded to the scene and released the following statement:
"A truly horrible event occurred in our city yesterday, and we mourn the tragic loss of life," he said. "In the coming days, mental health and counseling services will be provided through collaboration with the Danbury Public Schools and the City of Danbury. Our community grieves for the innocent lives taken from us. We will get through this together".
The bodies were taken to the medical examiner's office in Farmington, where autopsies are scheduled for Friday.
Police said there appears to be no threat to the general public.
Danbury Public Schools confirmed two of the victims were students.
"We were devastated to learn about the death of three Danbury children and their mother last night," Communications Director Vivian Santos said. "Our thoughts are with everyone in the Danbury community impacted by this tragedy, and we are grieving with you. Losing children to violence is becoming far too common in our nation and events such as these shine a light on the challenges communities face, specifically around mental health, that leave so many people vulnerable."
Santos said that grief counselors will be on hand Monday at the Morris Street School and Westside Middle School from 10 a.m. to noon for any students, staff or family members who need assistance.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text TALK to 741-741 or visit 988lifeline.org/ for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even if it feels like it, you are not alone.
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