A mother and her twin daughters have been identified as the woman and two children found dead in what is believed to be a murder-suicide in southwest suburban Joliet Monday.
Autopsies were scheduled for Tuesday to confirm the cause of death for the three family members, but police said it appeared all three died of gunshot wounds.
The mom and children were identified as 41-year-old Celisa Henning and her twin daughters Makayla and Addison, who were just shy of their sixth birthday, according to family and the Will County Coroner's office.
Police are currently investigating the triple shooting as apparent murder-suicide.
Just after 3 p.m., officers responded to a death investigation at the home in the 400 block of North Reed Street in Joliet, according to a statement from Joliet police. When officers arrived they were met by a family member who directed them inside the home, where they witnessed the disturbing scene police described only as "tragic and horrible," authorities said.
“This is an on-going investigation into a very tragic incident,” Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said.
Witnesses said the father of the children made the gruesome discovery and called police Monday afternoon, though authorities did not immediately confirm that information.
"It's kind of crazy," said neighbor Jesus Franco. "I don't know why this happened. We never seen things like this happen in this area... never."
The twin sisters were just getting ready to start kindergarten at a nearby Catholic school, neighbors said.
Adele Bryant said the children would play with her dog in their yard and she would come over often to let them play. She had even recently brought the girls a back-to-school gift, a package of art pencils and paper, saying they were excited for their first year of kindergarten.
"I just wrote them a little note and wished them a happy school and hopefully they would become great artists, they loved drawing," she said.
Bryant said the family seemed "very normal" and she was "shocked" when she heard the news.
"It's a very sad loss to have a family erased," she said.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk also offered his condolences "to the family and friends."