Police are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman. Picture: 9 News
Police are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman. Picture: 9 News

'Shocking discovery': Couple dead in murder-suicide

UPDATE:  A SMALL farming community has been shocked and saddened by the deaths of an elderly couple in a tragic find northwest of Melbourne.

The bodies are understood to have been found by the couple's grandson just after 10am at a rural farming property on Smiths Road in Parwan, which is near Bacchus Marsh.

A major police operation was immediately set up as officers investigated the suspected murder-suicide.

The husband and wife, believed to be aged in their 90s, are yet to be formally identified and the cause of the deaths is still yet to be determined.

Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection to the incident at this stage.

The couple moved to the property after marrying in the early 1950s and had strong family ties to the area, according to The Herald Sun.

They had previously spoken about the troubles experienced by farmers in the area, where many struggled in the drought.

One resident told 9 News she was warmly welcomed by the couple when she moved to the area seven years ago.

"They had some history with the area … they made me feel very welcome," she said.

"My heart feels sorrow. They were elderly, in the golden years (of their lives). I'm very surprised."

Others said they were not so surprised, with one local saying: "It's awful and really sad and I feel sad for the family, but I'm not surprised. There's been a few in town."

Moorabool Shire Mayor Paul Tatchell said the incident was "a real tragedy" for a close-knit rural community.

"They were well known in our community and it will affect us deeply," he told the Herald Sun.

EARLIER: A MAJOR police operation has been set up northwest of Melbourne as officers investigate the deaths of a man and a woman in a suspected murder-suicide.

The bodies were found at an address on Smiths Road, Parwan, just after 10am.

They are yet to be formally identified and the cause of the deaths is yet to be determined.

Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection to the incident at this stage.

Several police vehicles are at the rural property. Picture: 9 News
Several police vehicles are at the rural property. Picture: 9 News

"The deceased are yet to be formally identified and the exact cause of the deaths are yet to be determined but police are not looking for anyone else in connection to the incident at this stage," a police statement said.

Investigators have not revealed who found the man and woman, or estimated how long ago they died.

It is understood they were husband and wife and aged in their 90s.

Ballarat Police Acting Superintendent Trevor Cornwill said although he was unable to release many details at this point, it appeared the couple were husband and wife.

"It's very sad an elderly couple have lost their lives in tragic circumstances," he told The Age.

Jordan Rogers, a worker in the area, said the couple were "well liked".

"It's really sad news, it's a really close-knit community," he told 9 News.

Photos from the scene show several police vehicles and ambulances at the property which is accessed by a dirt road and has multiple outhouses.

If you or someone you know is in need of crisis or suicide prevention support, please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

- With AAP


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