A father is suspected to turning his house into a ‘gas chamber’ to kill his wife and their severely autistic twins in a suspected murder-suicide.Neighbours knew high-flying engineer Fernando Manrique as a friendly face and loving father. But behind the facade – and chats to other parents down the local park – he is now believed been plotting in secret to kill his family in a macabre fashion. Police were yesterday working inside the family home he built in Davidson, Australia, 11 years ago – trying to dismantle a network of hidden pipes Manrique used to gas his family.
A police source described it as an “extensive, elaborate and well planned” operation. Detectives are also investigating the source of the poison they have discovered inside gas canisters found at the home in New South Wales. Maria Claudia Lutz, 43, was found dead in one room with their daughter Elissa, 11, while their son Martin, 10, was found in another room alone.
Both children were severely autistic – and the mother is said to have been fiercely protective of them. The body of 44-year-old Manrique was found alone in a separate room. The family’s German Shepherd dog was also found lying dead. Post-mortems are yet to take place but they are all thought to have inhaled the gas.
Police are understood to believe that Manrique acted alone but haven’t ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide pact with his wife. Australian website News.com.au reported that the couple had been on the verge of a divorce before they died.