In a tragic twist it has been revealed that just hours before they were killed, mother Michelle Petersen, 48, and her two children, daughter Bella, 15, and son Rua, had spent a beautiful evening together at their local church for the baptism of eight-year-old Rua.
"They went to church, Rua got baptised and then that happened,” neighbour and friend Stacy tells WHO in an exclusive interview. Exactly what happened to the “caring mother” and her two children in the early hours of July 15 at their Perth home is now being investigated by detectives.
Michelle’s 19-year-old son, Teancum Vernon Petersen-Crofts, has been charged with three counts of murder and is undergoing a mental-health assessment before he is due to face the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on July 23.
Stacy—who would walk his son Nazea and Rua home from school every Wednesday— remembers Rua as “a little bundle of energy” and Bella as a “pretty quiet, good girl.”
For Stacy and his wife Helen the shocking deaths have hit hard.
“Michelle was on a new journey and she was doing very well,” says Helen. “She was a very caring mother. I knew if my daughter or son were at her house I didn’t have to worry.”
Describing the crime scene as the “most horrific” ever witnessed by senior officers, Assistant Commissioner Paul Steel said the situation was complex.
He also revealed police had been called to a nearby convenience store at 1.30 AM on Sunday, where Petersen-Crofts reportedly asked staff to call 000. It is alleged the 19-year-old then led officers to his mother’s home where they found the bodies of Michelle and Rua inside the house and a critically injured Bella in the backyard. She died from her injuries on the way to hospital.
In the meantime, says Helen, children and teachers are receiving counselling at the school Rua attended with her son.
Read the full story in this week's issue of WHO, on sale now.