A community in a leafy and affluent Connecticut suburb in the US has been left devastated by what police believe was a murder-suicide, claiming the lives of a seven-year-old girl and her mother.
Layla Malon was found dead at the family's near US$1.8 million (A$2.4 million) home on Thursday (local time) in the wealthy neighbourhood of Westport.
According to the state's chief medical examiner, mother Tracy Do, 46, died from "sharp injuries of torso and extremities" in an apparent suicide, the Connecticut Post reported.
A lawyer representing the woman in a civil case against the child’s father, who was seeking to have her removed from the home, described it as a "shocking tragedy".
Investigators believe the woman drowned her daughter before taking her own life amid a bitter property dispute with Layla's father.
An obituary published online for the seven-year-old said she "possessed a sweetness that truly captivated people".
"She was the beloved daughter of Eric Malon of Westport and the late Tracy Do," it says.
"She brought smiles, laughter, and happiness to all around her. She loved and admired her big sissy Alexis, and was her Daddy's little girl.
"Layla found great delight in her collection of stuffed animals.
"In addition to her father, she will be lovingly remembered by her sister, Alexis, as well as, several aunts, uncles, cousins, and endearing family members."
The tragedy has reportedly rocked what is one of the wealthiest suburbs in the country.
"Fortunately things like that do not happen in Westport," local police lieutenant David Wolf told Fox 61.
"It's a tragedy, our hearts go out to the family and it is devastating for the community and the family, of course."
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