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A Texas woman and her two young daughters were found dead in an SUV near Dallas on Thursday, less than 24 hours after they were reported missing, authorities said.
Natalie Chambers, 31, was last seen leaving her home in Forney on Wednesday morning to take her children, Elise, 2, and Izabel, 4, to a play date in the nearby town of Grapevine, but they never arrived, according to the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office.
Following concerns from family members, police said the sheriff's office asked them to search an area where Chambers might have been traveling, when they found the blue Ford Escape in a parking lot in Farmers Branch, near Dallas, FOX 4 Dallas reported.
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“Our officers responded to the location, checked the area, and actually located the vehicle in the 4300 block of LBJ freeway,” Farmers Branch Police Department Officer Steve Rutherford said. “Upon contacting the occupants of the vehicle, the officers observed there were three occupants inside the vehicle and the tragic discovery was made that all three occupants of the vehicle were deceased.”
Rutherford said it wasn't immediately clear how they died, or what led them to that area after they left for the play date. A nearby worker reported seeing the SUV in the parking lot, but it didn't appear anything was "unusual."
“To be honest with you, we didn’t see anything wrong, or gunshots or anything like that, nothing unusual,” Amado Silva said. “The windows were rolled up. We didn’t notice there was someone inside or anything. We didn’t see anything suspicious around the car."
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Investigators are determining whether surveillance video in the area can pinpoint exactly how long Chambers and her daughters had been there. Her cellphone was last detected around 1 p.m. Wednesday in the area, Dallas's WFAA-TV reported.
Elissa Brabandt, a friend of Chambers who knew her from high school said the mother was recently injured and was in pain, but didn't elaborate: “We lost a bright light in our life."
“I hear her voice, and if she was having a crappy day, she would just get on there and be like, ‘Hello, I love you, you’re amazing, you’re cherished,’” Brabandt said, adding that her daughters were just like their mom.
“And their dad, we’re thinking of him right now."
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Police were waiting on the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine a cause of death for the family members, according to FOX 4 Dallas. The report likely won’t be ready until Friday.
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