The decomposing bodies of four people were found inside a home on the South Side of Chicago Saturday evening, but the cause of their deaths remains a mystery.
Police made the discovery at about 8:25 p.m. in a home in the 8300 block of South Drexel in the Chatham neighborhood.
Neighbors say a young mother and three children lived at the residence, but police have not released any information about the identities or ages of the victims.
Leon Ervin, the grandfather of the three children, identified them as 11-year-old Andrew Simms, 9-year-old Cameron Jackson and 5-year-old Kentrell. The mother was identified as 27-year-old Latoya Jackson. The children attended Caldwell Elementary School, according to their grandfather.
"I wake up this morning before I go to church, and I got here and heard the news. Shock, unbelievable," Ervin said.
Early Sunday morning, investigators entered the home in full Hazmat gear. Tom Ahern, with ATF, also said certified fire investigators were on the scene in the hopes of determining the cause and origin of a small fire that broke out in the house.
Donald Martin, a neighbor who lives on the same block, told NBC Chicago he called police Saturday because there was a terrible smell coming from the home.
"As the weather got hotter, the smell got stronger, the odor," Martin said.
He also said he noticed the three boys had not been playing in the yard all week, which was unusual.
Another neighbor said he noticed a potent smell on the block for the last four or five days. It is unknown how long the victims have been dead.
"I've known Latoya ever since she was a little girl," one neighbor told NBC Chicago. "She's a very caring mother, she loves her kids dearly, and it hurts my heart to hear that something tragic like this had to happen to her."
Area South detectives are conducting a death investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.