Brother of Sydney woman 'gassed to death by husband' wants to know why calls for help were ignored

The brother of the Sydney woman gassed to death along with her two children and husband in last week’s alleged murder suicide wants to know why her pleas for help were ignored.

The Davidson mother Maria Claudia Lutz was described as “alone and severely depressed” and would call authorities up to “nine times a day”, a close friend told the Daily Telegraph last week.

Behind the smiles was a pair struggling to cope with raising two children with nonverbal autism. Picture: Facebook
Martin, Mrs Lutz and Elisa. Photo: Facebook
Fernando Manrique and Maria Claudia Lutz were originally from Colombia.

Her marriage to husband Fernando Manrique had broken down past the point of repair, the friend said, and Ms Lutz longed to return to her native Colombia to raise 11-year-old Elisa and 10-year-old Martin, who had nonverbal autism.

The friend revealed Mr Manrique became more burdened by the difficulties of raising children with autism, and ultimately became more detached from the family.

“The marriage had collapsed in the last years and the two of them were not speaking,” the friend said.

“He was never home and had become increasingly withdrawn, spending weeks at a time working away in Asia.

“She desperately wanted to go home to Colombia to be with her mum, but he wouldn’t let her and said the kids couldn’t handle the flight. In reality he knew she wouldn’t come back."

Ms Lutz's brother Juan (pictured with his niece and nephew) has flown from Columbia to Sydney and wants answers as to why his sister's cries for help were left unanswered. Picture: Facebook
Fernando Manrique and Maria Claudia Lutz. Image: Facebook
Maria with her brother. Image: Facebook
Fernando Manrique with Elisa.

The friend also questioned the amount of government support that the 43-year-old mother was receiving and suggested a split was imminent.

"She would ring (the Family of Community and Services) sometimes nine times a day to confirm they had cancelled or changed things - or to ask for extra help.

“Maria was so anxious and depressed that if they called to change an appointment or cancel (then) it threw her,” the friend said.

Following the revelations from Ms Lutz's friend, her brother Juan Lutz Pena, a doctor from Colombia, has now flown to Sydney and wants to know why his sister's cries for help were left unanswered.

"Juan is deeply upset by the death of his sister and wants to know why the relationship between Family and Community Services broke down," a friend of the family told the Daily Telegraph.

"He was very close to Maria and, as a father himself, adored Elisa and Martin. He longed for them all to come back to Colombia to be close to family."

Maria Claudia Lutz with her children 11-year-old Elisa and 10-year-old Martin. Image: Facebook
Martin's artwork will be displayed at St Lucy's Catholic School in a tribute to the family.
A close friend of Maria Lutz suggested that a split from her husband was imminent.

Police were first alerted about concerns for the family after Ms Lutz and her children failed to arrive at Wahroonga’s St Lucy’s Catholic School on Monday. Ms Lutz was scheduled to work in the canteen.

On Monday morning, police officers forced entry to the home and made the grim discovery. They found the family's dog had also been killed.

It is believed that Mr Manrique was seen tinkering with pipes on the roof in the days before the family's death, and poisoned the family of four with an elaborate chemical system to pump odourless carbon monoxide gas into the house.

Police discovered gas bottles inside the kitchen.

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline 13 11 14, Mensline 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline 1800 551 800