A custody dispute may have led a New Mexico father to fatally shoot his 7-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself, authorities say.
Rio Rancho police discovered the tragic crime scene on Wednesday when they attempted to help the girl's mother pick her up from her father's home, KRQE reports.
According to the Albuquerque Journal:
Officers were called to the home on the 600 block of Diez Y Ocho Court around 5:22 p.m. to resolve a child custody issue. A woman was at the home to pick-up her 7-year-old daughter from her ex-husband, but was unable to contact him.
The adult son of the ex-husband answered the door and told officers that his father was sleeping, so they told him to wake his father up.
The adult son returned moments later to tell police that his father and the girl were dead. Police immediately entered the home and found the 56-year-old man and his daughter.
The girl had celebrated her seventh birthday with a party just a few days earlier.
"She was a pretty little girl, nice, friendly -- you could tell she wasn't afraid to talk," the landlord, Danny Nevarez, told KOB.
No charges are expected to be filed. Police have not released the names of the man or the girl.