The tragic deaths of a mother and two young children who fell from a parking garage in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood on Christmas Day are being investigated as a double-murder suicide, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins identified the deceased as Erin Pascal, 40, of West Roxbury, her 4-year-old daughter Allison, and her 1-year-old son Andrew.
"This horrible situation highlights the invisible struggles many members of our community confront and the devastation that can result," Rollins said. "This entire family, in a matter of minutes -- aside from the father who survives them -- is gone."
Many questions remain about the tragedy, which unfolded on Wednesday afternoon when the woman and two children were found unconscious on a sidewalk near the Renaissance parking garage near the Ruggles MBTA station.
Rollins said investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened. She said the incident happened between 1:25 and 1:35 p.m., and a 911 call may have first alerted police.
"We're still tying down exactly what may have occurred," she said. "We aren't aware of any kidnapping complaints. Our understanding is there was a call that was made. We're going to be piecing that together as we can."
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The police investigation Wednesday centered around an SUV parked on the top level of the parking garage that had three doors open. Two child safety seats were reportedly found inside the vehicle.
Mayor Marty Walsh called the incident "a horrible tragedy," offering his sympathies to the family.
Rollins described the scene of the incident during a radio interview on WBUR on Thursday morning.
"It was awful," she said. "There were children's shoes and an adult shoe, just belongings from the children and the mother strewn upon the street. The impact of the fall was visible from the street."
"If it had happened on any other day it would be a tragedy, but it happened on Christmas Day, which, whether you celebrate that holiday or not, this is a sacred season in many cultures, and just to see a family, where many of us were home I hope celebrating and loving ours, that this family ended on this day, or the vast majority of them did."
The garage is owned by Northeastern University, which announced Wednesday that it is staffing the garage with security 24 hours a day and, "until a permanent solution is implemented," will close access to the garage's top two floors to pedestrians and vehicles.
Rollins said the garage was the scene of two previous suicides this year, one on Dec. 9 and another on May 20, when 22-year-old Boston College student Alexander Urtula took his own life. Urtula's girlfriend, 21-year-old Inyoung You, of Korea, is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with his death.
After the Dec. 9 suicide, Rollins said she reached out to Northeastern, and she hopes this latest incident will spur them to take action.
"I don't know what else needs to happen in order for this to be handled," she said.
Rollins also issued a public plea Thursday for anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts to reach out and seek help.
"You never know what someone is going through when you look at them. I just ask people to recognize, or I hope that they learn, that there's help out there if you feel as though you're struggling," Rollins told WBUR. "So please go home and love your family. The first responders that saw this, the husband that had to be told that this occurred and the families that are impacted as a result of this, it's just a devastating loss for all of us."
SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: Here is information on suicide prevention from the National Institute of Mental Health. If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.