A Texas mother was found dead in her SUV, but her three young children were alive, said officials who discovered the missing family members in a parking lot three days after they apparently vanished.
Christine Thi Woo, 39, and her children were last been seen about 8 a.m. Monday, her husband, Brandon Woo, told investigators.
Their dad said he returned to their Frisco home from work on Monday and discovered his family missing. His wife's cell phone had been left behind.
He reported his family missing on Tuesday after checking with relatives to see if they knew the location of his wife and children.
Credit card records and surveillance footage revealed that Woo and her children had stopped at a Walgreens and then at a McDonald’s on Monday, authorities said.
Police said they found Woo’s body inside her Honda Pilot on Thursday evening. It was parked in the back of a Target store's lot about two miles from her home.
Her three children—Lauren Woo, 5; Nathan Woo, 3; and Leah Woo, 1—were taken to a nearby hospital and are being treated, police said Friday.
An autopsy will be performed by the Collin County Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of Woo’s death. Frisco Police said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
It was not immediately clear how long her car had been parked in the lot.
Woo was remembered as a caring and devoted mother who made sure her children’s interests were fulfilled.
“Christine & Brandon Woo brought their three children every Saturday to 7 Notes and spent their entire day here,” 7 Notes music school wrote on Facebook, noting that Brandon Woo would take the younger children to classes while Christine Woo sat with her older daughter during piano lessons.
“Please pray for this family,” the school wrote.
Prayers on social media that the mother and children would be found safely turned into condolences as shocked residents grappled with the gruesome discovery.
“Imagining what caused this beautiful family to have their entire world crumble over the course of the past few days is almost unbearable,” one person wrote on the Frisco Police Department’s Facebook page.
“Tragic,” another person wrote. “Sending prayers to the children and family.”