14 March 2018

Child custody hearing scheduled for same day Bonner mother and children found dead

| Glynis Quinlan
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A photo of Anne Muhoro taken on Mother’s Day last year. Photo supplied by a close family friend.

The woman found dead along with her two children after a house fire in Bonner on February 19 was due to attend a Family Court hearing that same morning in relation to a child custody matter.

A close family friend who did not want to be identified said the matter was listed for 11.30 am but 45-year-old Anne Muhoro never arrived.

Instead, Ms Muhoro and her two children, eight-year-old Ezvin and five-year-old Furaha, died earlier that day at their home in Peter Coppin Street. Their bodies were found by firefighters following a house fire which police said was deliberately lit.

Police questioned a man on the day of the fire but released him.

They are continuing to investigate the deaths and have still not stated whether the case is being treated as a murder or a murder-suicide.

“There are numerous avenues of investigation being pursued to determine the exact circumstances that led to this tragic outcome,” a spokesperson for ACT Policing said.

“The post-mortem examinations are completed but the final autopsy report awaits various test results.”

Speaking to the media the day after the fire, Superintendent Scott Moller confirmed that police were exploring the possibility that the three people were deceased before the fire. There have been no police updates on this issue since then.

Friends, family and members of the church Ms Muhoro and her children attended are continuing to mourn the tragic deaths.

Pastor Sue Miller from Northside Life Church in Harrison said the church held a private invite-only memorial for Ms Muhoro and her children on Sunday, February 25.

The Church kept it private and didn’t use last names at the memorial as at the time the family hadn’t been formally identified (this didn’t occur until the following day). However, church members knew who lived at the Bonner house and Ms Miller said it was important to give people a chance to mourn.

“We had open house just about every night for people to come and comfort each other because that’s what the church does best,” Ms Miller said.

Ms Muhoro was born in Kenya but was an Australian citizen. Her children were born in Canberra and attended Brindabella Christian College.

Ms Muhoro had attended Northside Life Church for the past 11 years and Ms Miller said she was a loving mother who worked as a software engineer.

“She was a gentle but strong woman – a woman of faith who loved her children hugely and a great protector and provider,” Ms Miller said.

Ms Miller did not wish to make further comment due to the ongoing police investigation.

The house in Peter Coppin Street, Bonner, where three people died.

The ACT Policing spokesperson said police are still calling for any dash-cam footage from the suburb of Bonner between midnight on Sunday, February 18 and 8.45 am on Monday, February 19.

“If you have any footage between these times or any information that you think could assist police, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website,” the spokesperson said.

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