Flowers, teddy bears and notes are a part of a growing memorial for three slain children in Merritt, B.C. on Tuesday, April 8, 2008. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Val Truthwaite, cousin of suspect Allan Dwayne Schoenborn, speaks with CTV News on Tuesday, April 8, 2008.

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Allan Dwayne Schoenborn, the father of the three children who were found deceased, is being sought in connection with the triple homicide in Merritt, B.C. on Sunday, April 6, 2008. (RCMP)

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RCMP Const. Annie Linteau pauses for a moment as she prepares to address the media during a news conference in Merritt, B.C. on Tuesday, April 8, 2008. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

B.C. murder suspect's family in disbelief

Updated Tue. Apr. 8 2008 10:00 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
While police continue their investigation into the slayings of three B.C. children, family members are in disbelief that the father, a man they describe as considerate and kind, could be a prime suspect.
The bodies of the three murdered children have now been removed from their home in Merritt, B.C. They were found by their mother on the weekend, killed in what police believe was a "targeted incident."
The coroner arrived at a mobile home park late Monday and removed the bodies of Kaitlynne, 10, Cordon, 5, and Max, 8, by about 11 p.m. PT.
When the Merritt RCMP released photos of Allan Dwayne Schoenborn on Monday, his cousin Val Truthwaite could hardly recognize him.
The only part of the haggard-looking man, his upper lip cocked in a sneer, that looked anything like the person she grew up with was the eyes, she told CTV Newsnet on Tuesday in a phone interview.
"My whole family said 'oh my goodness, that is not Allan,'" said Truthwaite, a Winnipeg nurse who grew up blocks from Schoenborn's family. "I still can't believe it... I can't remember a negative memory ever about Allan. He was just such a nice kid."
Truthwaite described him as a considerate person who named his middle son Max after their grandfather. She said she is worried for his safety and doesn't consider him dangerous: "He's ill. He needs psychiatric help."
She said none of his Manitoba-based family members had heard from him, and they worry he may have committed suicide.
Others who have known Schoenborn more recently remember him differently. Dylan Smith, who lived near the family at their former home in East Vancouver, recalled one night when he heard Schoenborn yelling in the street.
"It was late at night and I heard screaming and banging," Smith told CTV British Columbia on Tuesday. "He kicked the door off the hinges and his wife said 'get out now or we're calling the cops.'"
Other neighbours said the couple's marriage appeared to be in difficulty last summer when the wife and children moved to Merritt.
Once in Merritt, the children began attending Diamond Vale Elementary School, where Schoenborn had been involved in an incident last week.
Kaitlynne, a newcomer to the school, had been bullied "because of what she wore and because she was new," said Kendra Bennett, a friend of the deceased girl.
Schoenborn, who had recently arrived in Merritt, went to the school and confronted a student and the principal.
The RCMP arrested Schoenborn for making threats. A court order was issued Thursday barring the man from contacting the principal and students of the school. However, the court didn't bar Schoenborn from seeing his own children.
The grandmother of the girl who Schoenborn allegedly threatened says the girl is terrified that he is on the loose.
"He said he would get her," the woman told CTV British Columbia. "She can't sleep in her bedroom by herself. She's very upset."
The Canadian Press reported police arrested Schoenborn two more times last week -- once on an outstanding warrant for driving while prohibited and once for intoxication.
Manhunt continues
Mounties in Merritt say they have received 25 tips in their investigation into the murders. At a news conference held Tuesday morning, Const. Annie Linteau gave few details about the police investigation, but noted the tips have come from "a variety of locations."
The B.C Coroners Service is planning to hold a public inquest into the children's murders, but has not yet scheduled a date. The inquest will hear witness testimony and make recommendations aimed at preventing similar circumstances in the future.
Police are warning the public that Schoenborn should be considered dangerous.
Linteau faced some tough questions from reporters who wanted to know why it took police almost 20 hours after the murders to announce they were looking for Schoenborn. She said officers follow a variety of steps in their investigation and that a suspect photo was released as soon as possible.
RCMP suspect that Schoenborn, 40, may have disappeared into the bush surrounding the southern B.C. community, CTV's Rob Brown told Canada AM on Tuesday.
However, they have also alerted police in Calgary about the possibility that Schoenborn could be headed there, Brown said.
The children's bodies were found Sunday afternoon after their mother returned from buying some groceries. At Tuesday's news conference, Linteau said "the mother is in a safe place undergoing care."
They are believed to have been stabbed to death, but CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro reported Monday that the RCMP has not yet confirmed that information.
Brown said police worked inside the home, which has its windows blacked out, throughout the night.
More than 20 officers are working on finding Schoenborn.
The RCMP helicopter started an aerial search as soon as dawn broke in the community on Tuesday, Brown said.
Community coping with tragedy
Merritt mayor David Laird told CTV on Tuesday that the community is "starting to deal" with the tragedy. He said he is organizing a town meeting to help residents cope psychologically with its impact.
Laird also said he wants to help town residents begin healing by giving them accurate and current information about the investigation into the crime.
Merritt residents who spoke with CTV News said they're taking extra precautions until Schoenborn is found.
"I went into town today to check the mail and was looking over my shoulder getting out of the car," said Anita Boreen.
An account has been set up to help support the children's mother. Members of the public wishing to contribute can contact the Interior Savings Credit Union. Ask for account 1186709.
With files from CTV British Columbia, CTV Newsnet and The Canadian Press