GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) – A father apparently upset over marital problems killed his three children and hanged himself early Saturday in rural northeastern Alabama, authorities said.

William Eric Krost, 36, was found dead by his wife, Wendy, at about 7:30 a.m. after she returned home from a night out with friends, Etowah County Sheriff James Hayes said.

Investigators found the couple’s children – Brandon, 10, Ashley, 8, and Katherine, 4 – dead in their beds, he said. The mother told police she had thought they were only sleeping.

“In my 31 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen a more gruesome crime scene against children than I saw today,” Hayes said. He would not say how the children were killed.

The couple was having marital problems and had been discussing divorce, Hayes said.

The deaths in the Tabor community north of Gadsden came just a week after a Gadsden couple and their 8-year-old daughter were stabbed to death. Police have arrested two men in connection with the killings, but no charges have been filed.

AP-ES-05-31-03 2108EDT

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