Tragedy strikes Clearwater neighborhood - FOX 13 News

Tragedy strikes Clearwater neighborhood

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An autopsy will be conducted to determine what killed Zayden, 5, left, and Zander, 9, right. An autopsy will be conducted to determine what killed Zayden, 5, left, and Zander, 9, right.

A Pinellas County woman killed her two young sons and then herself early Saturday morning inside her home on Sidney St. in Clearwater.

Family friend William Lavold received the shocking information via text.

"I'd say the only thing that would make any family member do this is like a devil knocking on the door," he said of the tragedy.

Dawn Michelle Brown, 34, nine-year-old Zander and five-year-old Zayden were discovered deceased just after 2 a.m. Authorities would not say how the children died.

Brown was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a bedroom. The children's father, 36-year-old Murphy Brown, was not home at the time of the killings. He found the bodies when he returned home.

"Of all the things she knows or anything she knows she talks about how great her kids are," Lavold added. "How much she likes helping her kids out."

What could have led to a mother taking the lives of her children? Nobody can know for sure.

A look at her recent past shows Brown was arrested on welfare fraud charges last year. She was studying to become a teacher but failed to gain her certification.

Despite the hardships few can understand what could have been swirling in her head early Saturday.

Nicole Bell lived on the same street as Brown and her family.

"You do what you need to do to yourself, but your children?" Bell said. "Where on this Earth? Was your mind not in your head?"

Bell's son and Zander were friends and both attended the same Pinellas County elementary school. She recently saw Dawn at an open house following the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.

Bell: "It was only 3 weeks ago we had open house and there was mom happy bubbly talking to the teacher you don't come if you don't care?"

Which again, brings us back to the question – Why?

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