A mother and her two-year-old son have been found dead in a car park after going missing for almost a week.
Shana Pringle and her son, Noah, were found dead in a vehicle parked outside a movie theatre in Roseville, near Sacramento in the US state of California, on Sunday.
In a heartbreaking development, police believe the deaths were a possible murder-suicide, alleging Ms Pringle shot her son before turning the gun on herself.
The pair were last seen on November 23 by Noah’s father, who reported them missing six days before they were found.
Ms Pringle’s friends said the 34-year-old mum was under a lot of stress and was not coping under the restrictions of the Covid pandemic.
“It’s the worst, and I really blame Covid for what happened to Shana,” Sarah Beilgard told CBS Sacramento.
“She did suffer from depression, especially with Covid and not having her own place… boyfriend breaking up with her. I think any normal person would have difficulty with that.”
Ms Beilgard also said Ms Pringle “adored” her son and couldn’t comprehend her friend’s actions.
After the discovery of the bodies, police issued a statement offering condolences to the families of the deceased.
"The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Shana and Noah for the tragic ending discovered in Placer County early this morning," a representative for the sheriff's office said in a statement to ABC10.
Feeling worried or struggling to cope during the Coronavirus pandemic? Visit coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au or speak with trained counsellors on 1800 512 348.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.