Camara was supposed to return the children to their mother Sunday night, but that never happened. Instead, deputies found them in his apartment Monday morning.
The mother has released the following statement:
Community of Sonoma County,
I sit here at 7:06am on Tuesday June 20, 2017 swaddled in my daughter's blanket and drinking tea from a cup that reads "I love you mom", fighting back the tears and struggling to make sense of this horrific situation. As I hear updates and stories coming out in regards to my children's identity and pictures of them without my knowledge I am visibly distraught and upset. They are my precious innocent children that were beyond loved by their family, friends and community. I know I am not the only person that is or has gone through this horrific unimaginable situation, so please help me spread stories like this to raise awareness that is much needed to help prevent anything like this happening to another family. I sought help on numerous occasions and said many many many times my children were in danger in their fathers care and I didn't receive the urgent help I needed to save them.
- A mother no longer able to hold her children.
ABC7 News has not released the identity or photos of the children, per the family's request.
VIDEO: Santa Rosa PD says couple had 'volatile' custody arrangement
Neighbors say Camara appeared to be a loving father. Separated from his wife, he would bring his children to his Santa Rosa home when it was his turn to have the kids -- a 6-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old son.
"They're really super sweet kids, and he seemed like a really good father. He was always playing with them, riding his bike out here with them," neighbor Carrie Buchholz said.
"He just looked at his son with so much love and pride... it's just really sad," another neighbor, who didn't wish to be named, said.
But neighbors say Camara did appear to be on edge in recent days. Sometime between Sunday and Monday morning, police say he killed his two children inside his Slater Street apartment, where he then hanged himself.
Deputies made the discovery by climbing through the bathroom window sometime after 9 a.m.
The children's mother called the sheriff's department Sunday night to report that Camara failed to meet her to hand over the kids.
"We're still going to be exploring the timeline to determine when the children were last seen and when this tragedy occurred. The mother immediately did report it to the sheriff's department and they immediately began investigating," Santa Rosa Police Dept. Lt. John Cregan said.
The mother is being comforted by loved ones at her Sonoma County home. Law enforcement says she and Camara had a "volatile arrangement."
"He was having a hard time going through the divorce and there were issues with the kids and custody and all that," Buchholz said.
Santa Rosa Police say a father killed his two small children, then took his own life. Kids were center of custody dispute. pic.twitter.com/ptuB1flDul— Cbarnard (@CornellBarnard) June 19, 2017
Police say as part of their investigation, they'll be going through court records and the family's history.