SYDNEY, Australia - Hundreds of people gathered for with the relatives of the Manrique-Lutz family in Sydney on Monday for the funeral of the Colombian-Australian family following their deaths by gas poisoning in mid-October.
On Oct. 17, Australian police found the bodies of Fernando Manrique, 44; Maria Claudia Lutz, 43; and their two autistic children, 11-year-old Elisa and 10-year-old Martin, at their house in northern Sydney's Davidson neighborhood. The cause of death is now being considered by authorities as a murder-suicide.
The relatives of the Manrique-Lutz family travelled from the United States and Colombia to attend the funeral ceremony held at the Holy Name Parish Catholic church, where a jar with brushes shines on the altar in a symbolic commemoration of the two childrens' love for painting.
"We must now find peace and acceptance in our hearts," the family said in a statement, as cited by AAP agency.
The relatives said that for them, mourning "is not easy and the exposure has only exacerbated our pain", while urging greater public awareness of the enormous economic, social and psychological stresses that families of children with disabilities bear.
On the coffins of the victims, mourners placed wreaths with flowers from Australia and Colombia.
The family's remains will be cremated on Monday before being sent back to Colombia.