The mother of two young children who were killed in an apparent murder-suicide during a Father’s Day visit with her estranged husband has spoken out, claiming her concerns for her children’s safety were not taken seriously.
As Crime Online previously reported, 40-year-old Alvaro Camara, his six-year-old daughter Juliana, and his 18-month-old son Julian were found dead in Camara’s Santa Rosa, California, home on Monday morning.
The children’s mother had contacted police on Sunday evening after her estranged husband did not meet her to return the children at the scheduled time. She reportedly had phone contact with Camara, who said that he was “out of town” but would not specify where or when he would be back.
A spokesperson for the Santa Rosa Police Department told Crime Online that the estranged couple had a contentious separation and frequently argued about custody arrangements. During the previous week, the parents had reached a civil agreement in family court granting Alvaro visitation with his children for Father’s Day weekend. The girl would stay with her father throughout the weekend, and the younger boy would be returned to his mother overnight Friday and Saturday.
Santa Rosa Police Lt. Mike Lazzarini said that authorities visited Camara’s home on Friday night after the children’s mother contacted police to complain that Camara had been calling and texting her aggressively. Police reported to Camara’s home where Lt. Lazzarini said they helped the parents settle the dispute, and checked in with the six-year-old girl, who was fine at that time.
Lt. Lazzarini said that Camara upheld the visitation agreement until Sunday evening, when he did not meet his estranged wife to return the children. The mother reportedly went to the father’s home but did not see or speak to the children, and communicated with Camara only by phone. She called authorities at around 7:30 p.m., and a deputy got back to her at around 10 p.m.
“At this point it’s not a priority call,” Lt. Lazzarini said. “It’s a domestic dispute.”
The police spokesman said that at no point during the weekend was there any evidence of violence or the threat of violence, explaining that both parents were angry with each other. He said that while the mother was concerned about her children, she did not tell police that her estranged husband had threatened to hurt them or himself.
“There is no overt statement that said, ‘my kids are in danger.’
But the mother released a media statement on Wednesday claiming that she “did not receive the urgent help she needed.”
KTVU obtained the full statement, which is included below:
Community of Sonoma County,
I sit here at 7:06am on Tuesday June 20, 2017 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. As I hear updates and stories coming out in regards to my children’s identity and pictures of them without my knowledge I am visibly distraught and upset. They are my precious innocent children that were beyond loved by their family, friends and community. I know I am not the only person that is or has gone through this horrific unimaginable situation, so please help me spread stories like this to raise awareness that is much needed to help prevent anything like this happening to another family. I sought help on numerous occasions and said many many many times my children were in danger in their fathers care and I didn’t receive the urgent help I needed to save them.
– A mother no longer able to hold her children.
Crime Online previously reported that Santa Rosa police visited the home on Sunday evening, but did not enter the premises. Lt. Lazzarini told us on Thursday that police actually visited Camara’s home twice overnight, once sometime after 10 p.m. on Sunday and again at about 4 a.m. Monday. Both times, the home was dark and silent. Lt. Lazarrini said police had left a note on the door for Camara during the first visit, and that it had not moved when they came back a second time, indicating that no one had come in or out of the house during that time.
Lt. Lazzarrini told KTVU that the officers did not feel it was necessary to enter the home during those two visits.
“There wasn’t enough to go on at that particular point, and you can’t just go into somebody’s house without any further information,” he said.
By Monday morning, the officers on the day shift learned that no one in Camara’s family had reached him or the children overnight. At that poing they started “looking at it as child concealment,” Lt. Lazzarini said.
Police contacted Camara’s cell phone provider to get a ping on his phone, and found that he was still in the area. At that point police entered the home through a window and found the three bodies.
Lt. Lazzarrini confirmed that Camara died by hanging and is the only suspect in his children’s apparent homicide. Investigators have not yet released the children’s official cause of death, but the police spokesman said the children did not have any obvious wounds when they were found.
He also said that Camara himself had called child services just hours before he was supposed to meet his estranged wife to return the children. Camara reportedly complained to a staff member at the agency that his wife had a finished garage attached to her home and said he was concerned about it being used a living space. The child services worker reportedly told Camara that his concern was related to a code violation and not a child services matter, and later told police that she did not perceive that Camara posed a threat to his children or himself.
Camara had pleaded no contest to a DUI charge in early May, but Lt. Lazzarrini did not know the status of that case when he spoke to Crime Online on Thursday. The police spokesman said there had been no prior reports of domestic violence or protective orders against Camara.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Feature photo: Facebook