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Marshals serving eviction notice find 4 bodies

  • Story Highlights
  • Medical examiner trying to determine victims' identities and causes of death
  • Police are investigating the deaths as suspected homicides
  • Bodies were at the home for about 2 weeks
  • Victims appear to be between 5 and 18 years old, police say
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The deaths of four children whose bodies were discovered Wednesday in a Washington home are being treated as suspected homicides, but the remains are so badly decomposed, investigators can't determine how the victims died, authorities said.

"Scientific tests will have to do the verification" of the victims' identities and causes of death, said Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty.

The medical examiner is expected to provide some of those answers in 24 to 48 hours, Fenty said.

Police are questioning a woman in connection with the gruesome discovery, according to Metropolitan Police.

The victims appear to be between 5 and 18 years old, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during a news conference in front of the two-story town home in southeast Washington where the bodies were found.

Because of their advanced state of decomposition, it's "difficult to see if there were any signs of trauma," Lanier said.

U.S. marshals found the bodies just after 10 a.m. when they went to the town home to serve an eviction notice, she said. The woman whom police are questioning answered the door when the marshals arrived, Lanier said.

It appears the bodies were at the home for two weeks, Fenty said. There were no signs of forced entry at the house, he added. Video Watch the mayor talk about the case »

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The relationship of the victims was not clear. It was also unclear whether the woman being questioned is related to the victims.

Councilman Marion Barry, the former Washington mayor who represents the ward where the bodies were found, said he feels "somebody should have known that these young people were not in school or someplace." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Vito Maggiolo and Shannan Butler contributed to this report.

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