updated 1/5/2009 11:15:42 AM ET 2009-01-05T16:15:42

A couple who hadn’t been seen since New Year’s Eve have been found dead inside their locked bedroom with their crying 9-month-old daughter in an apparent murder-suicide. Three older children had been left out on their own.

The bodies of Hannah Crowe and Julian Wallulatum were discovered Saturday after the older children asked a neighbor to help.

Crowe, 26, and Wallulatum, 21, had both been shot, said police Sgt. Dennis Schneider.

A preliminary investigation showed it “appears to be a murder-suicide resulting from a domestic dispute,” Detective Tanner Stanfill said in a statement.

The statement listed Crowe as the victim.

The three older children had been playing outside Thursday and Friday so nothing seemed wrong, said neighbor Andrew Smith.

But on Saturday, the kids knocked on his door, led by the oldest, an 8-year-old girl, Smith said.

“The oldest one said ’I can’t wake my mom up. I can’t wake my mom and dad up, ’cause I think they’re still passed out, but I can see blood on my mom’s leg, under the door,”’ Smith told KTVZ-TV of Bend.

Smith said he went to the couple’s apartment, smelled a foul odor and heard the couple’s baby crying. He kicked down the locked bedroom door and found them dead in the same clothes they were wearing New Year’s Eve.

The baby was beside them; her shirt stained with their blood.

“My knees, they wobbled,” Smith said. “It just took it out of me. I almost fainted.”

“How could they leave the babies?” asked neighbor Ashley Barker. “If something was going on, an argument, why didn’t they send them to the neighbors?”

Smith said the state Department of Human Services took the baby into protective custody, and the other children were with relatives.

Madras is a town of just over 6,000 people, about 100 miles southeast of Portland.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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