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From a relationship that "changed his life", to condemning two children to death and a woman to a living death. Francisco Berenguer, 53 years old: the Barcelona father who yesterday - according to the hypothesis of the Mossos police - murdered his two children, aged 7 and 10, a girl and a boy, and then took his own life, in his flat in the Horta neighbourhood. He allegedly closed the doors and windows, turned on the gas and left them to die. Yesterday was the first day of school in Barcelona after the holidays, and Mossos were alerted at around five in the afternoon, when the children's mother, separated from her ex for almost three years, reported that the children had not been taken to school. Shortly afterwards, the police found the macabre scene.

The two children and the father died in the ground floor flat of number 47 of Avinguda Universal, in the Horta district. The investigation still has to certify it, but for now the main hypothesis of the Mossos is that it was a new tragic case of vicarious violence: the man ended the lives of the two children to hurt their mother. He then took his own life. 

"Changed his life"

Francisco Berenguer had said that when he met the mother of his children "it changed his life". The couple had two children and several years later, they separated and went to live in different homes. He had care of the two children once every two weeks, for some weekends and part of the school holidays, which the three of them spent together in the ground floor flat in Horta. Now, by murdering the two children - if, as the Mossos believe, it ends up being confirmed - he has attempted to send their mother to a living death.

Francisco's family disputes this version

The forensic tests and visual inspection that the Mossos carried out at the scene have yet to confirm the facts, although for now, the hypothesis of the Catalan police's homicide group is clear. The deceased man's family, however, does not believe that it could have happened like this.

Francisco's sister has published a letter in which she asserts that he handed the children over on Sunday and accuses the media of telling "lies". The text states that he "loved them madly, they were his life and he gave up his life for them". Other relatives and friends of Francisco, or Paco, as they called him, also say that they do not believe the police version and that they hope that the investigation will clarify that it was an accident.

The absence from school, the alert

Apparently, the man was supposed to return the children to their mother this Monday, first day of the winter school term. It was planned that Francisco would take the two children to school, and the mother would pick them up in the afternoon. The woman, however, finding that the man had not taken the children to school, called 112 and filed a complaint. At around half past six in the afternoon, the Mossos d'Esquadra appeared at the flat where the man lived and found the three bodies, those of the two children and that of the father. A very strong odour of gas was coming from inside the flat and nothing could be done to save the lives of either children or father.

The Mossos agents at the scene were shocked by the scene they found. The children were inside the flat, lifeless, with the body of their father, too, all three without external injuries. Now it will be the autopsy which will clarify how they died, and other details that may be relevant to this investigation, which now continues under a confidentiality order.