updated 12/11/2006 4:23:25 AM ET 2006-12-11T09:23:25

The decayed bodies of a woman, her two children and her boyfriend were found inside their apartment Sunday after a foul odor drifted into the hallway, police said.

Investigators said they think Hector Viera, 34, beat the family to death with a baseball bat before killing himself in their Brooklyn apartment. He was found with a drug needle stuck in his arm, police said. Autopsies were scheduled.

Neighbors said Viera was abusive and had lived with Haydee Soto, 42, and her children, John Borday, 15, and Valerie Rivera, 13, for more than a year.

“I just heard the kids screaming sometimes when they used to fight,” said Victor Vasquez, a close friend of Soto.

Vasquez said he had last seen the victims around Thanksgiving Day. He said he had knocked on their door during the last few days but received no answer and assumed they were out of town.

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