Is was supposed to be an adventure – a new beginning for the doctor couple and their three golden-haired little girls on the South Island of New Zealand.
The family had just moved into a house on a quiet street across from a park and a stone’s throw from the ocean – a perfect place to raise young children.
But the house has fallen silent now, police tape surrounding the property, neighbors shaken by the tragic events.
Just a few weeks ago pictures showed Liané (6) and twins Maya and Karla (2) at the airport after leaving Pretoria, clutching Kiwi soft toys and hamming it up for the camera.
Now the family have made headlines around the world. Less than a week after the Dickason's completed a mandatory two-week isolation period and moved into their home in Timaru in the south of Canterbury, the children were dead.
Graham, an orthopedic surgeon, discovered his daughters’ bodies around 10 pm on the night of Thursday, 16 September.
Lauren, a GP, was also injured but apparently regained consciousness. Details of the mother’s and daughters’ injuries weren’t disclosed – all that emerged was that “nothing could be done for the girls”.
Jade Whaley, one of the couple’s neighbors, says there was no sign that anything was wrong that night until she heard a bang.
“We went outside, but everything was quiet again. We couldn’t see anything, so we went back inside.”
Jade heard another loud bang and went outside again – but again, she could see nothing.
Soon afterward, Graham’s screams echoed through the neighborhood, says Karen Cowper, another neighbor. “I heard the man ask, ‘Is this really happening?’ We asked him if he was okay, but he didn’t respond. He was sobbing hysterically.”
Residents told New Zealand news website Stuff.co.nz that Graham’s cries were preceded by a woman shouting, “What did I do?”
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