11 November 2022

UPDATED: Police confirm Yerrabi Pond tragedy being treated as a murder-suicide

| Lottie Twyford
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police crime scene

A major search and rescue operation took place last weekend after the discovery of two bodies in Yerrabi Pond last weekend. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

UPDATED Friday, 11 November, 3 pm: ACT Policing is treating the death of a mother and her two sons at Yerrabi Pond as a murder-suicide, they confirmed this afternoon.

Despite media reporting, police have warned the investigation is complex and is still in the early stages.

Police had already stated earlier this week they did not believe another person was involved.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths have not yet been subject to a detailed report to the coroner.

Police refrained from making any further comment at this time, saying the coroner will ultimately make findings as to the manner and cause of death.

The bodies of the mother and one of her children were discovered on Saturday morning (5 November) in Yerrabi Pond, followed more than 24 hours later by the discovery of 8-year-old Pranav Vivenkandan.

He is the only victim to have been named at this time.

A vigil for the family will be held on Sunday night at Yerrabi Pond District Park, Wunderlich St, Gunghalin (near the Rotary Rotunda). Due to the high volume of attendees expected, organisers ask that you arrive at the venue at around 5:45 pm to avoid any parking complications.

If this story has caused any distress, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Yerrabi pond crime scene

A candlelight vigil will be held this Sunday (13 November) for the mother and her sons who were found dead in Yerrabi Pond. Photo: Laura Liu.

UPDATED 4:45 pm: The India Australia Association of Canberra has confirmed it will hold a candlelight vigil later this week for the family who was found dead in Yerrabi Pond over the weekend.

A vigil and a prayer meeting will take place on Sunday, 13 November, at the Rotary Rotunda at the scene of the tragedy in Gungahlin.

President of the association Sand Mitra encouraged the community to come along and pray for the “souls who sadly lost their lives”.

The circumstances of the three deaths are still under investigation, with police reportedly expecting to further update the community in the coming days and weeks.

At this stage, it’s not believed another person was involved.

If this story has caused any distress, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Yerrabi Pond

An extensive land and water search took place over more than 24 hours at Yerrabi Pond over the weekend until all three bodies had been located in the water. Photo: Laura Liu.

12 pm: The mother and her two sons who were found dead in a pond in Gungahlin over the weekend have been confirmed as members of the Harrison School community.

Eight-year-old Pranav Vivekandan and his as-of-yet-unnamed brother were students at the school.

In a letter sent to parents yesterday (6 November), Harrison School executive principal Andy Mison encouraged parents to stay engaged and connected with their children after the “tragic incident”.

“Today and over the coming weeks, you may be concerned about your child’s reaction or expression of feelings about this news. These reactions and feelings may be part of the grieving process,” he wrote.

“We must all respect the privacy of the family during this difficult time. Right now, our role is to stand together as a community, support one another, and allow the family the time they need to grieve.”

READ ALSO Police plead for information about whereabouts of 8-year-old Pranav Vivekanandan after Yerrabi Pond tragedy

Students will be able to access additional support and counselling at school.

Support spaces will be established in the coming days and staff will be “monitoring the well-being of students” and providing age-appropriate explanations of the incident, the principal’s letter confirmed.

Pranav Vivekandan

Eight-year-old Pranav Vivekandan is the only of the three family members to have been named at this stage. Photo: ACT Policing.

Pranav is the only member of the family to have been named so far after the bodies of his mother and brother were found in Yerrabi Pond early on Saturday (5 November) morning.

His body was discovered more than 24 hours later – just before 11 am on Sunday (6 November) after an extensive land and water search effort.

More than 30 police officers, AFP divers and State Emergency Service volunteers were involved in the efforts.

Drones were also used to scour the area from the skies and it’s understood the water was difficult to search as it was so murky.

Police and his family had released his name and a photo of the eight-year-old after being unable to locate him by 5 pm.

They held some hope he could be found alive but said there were “serious concerns” for his welfare.

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An investigation into the tragedy was launched over the weekend and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

That is still in the early stages, but police say, at this point, they do not believe anyone else was involved.

Flowers have been laid at the site of the incident and the Indian Australian Association of Canberra is preparing a tribute to the family.

If this story has caused any distress, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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