Mum killed kids before torching house and suiciding


A MOTHER involved in an argument with her daughter is the prime suspect in killing her three children before setting her house on fire and committing suicide.

Mum killed kids before torching house and suiciding

Kylie Maher, 36, and her eldest daughter, Sammantha, 18, became embroiled in a fight after the teenager turned up at the Heidelberg Heights house with her boyfriend on Sunday afternoon.

In frenzied scenes, the boyfriend, who was pushed away from entering the back door by Ms Maher, saw the pair argue before trying to get neighbours to help in force his way in.

It is not known if her other children, Melanie, 13, and Matthew, 11, were alive.

The coroner has found both Sammantha Fowler, who lived in Skye, and her half brother Matthew had injuries consistent with a sharp object, such as a knife.

Police are also working towards the theory Ms Maher, who also went by the surname Fowler, lit a fire in the kitchen area that ripped through the house and burnt their bodies.

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Sammantha Fowler (right) died after an argument with her mother, according to boyfriend James Elks (pictured with her). Matthew and Melanie Fowler were also found dead

The boyfriend, 19, has told police he saw Ms Maher and Ms Fowler arguing and attempted to gain entry into the house, but failed.

He then went to the neighbours house directly behind in a desperate bid for help.

He has told police he returned to see his girlfriend badly bleeding and again tried to force entry as the fire began to take hold.

The four dead family members were located within three different rooms in the house.

Police and Metropolitan Fire Brigade crews arrived shortly after 4pm and forced entry into the brick veneer house but were unable to help any of the badly burnt people inside, who were deceased.

Police are awaiting further forensic analysis to determine the exact cause of the fire, however it is deemed suspicious and at this stage it is believed a type of accelerant was used.

A friend of Sammantha said the teenager, who finished year 12 at Carrum Downs secondary college last year, was kind-hearted.

“She cared about all her friends and family,” the friend said.

“She pretty much just wanted to live her life to the full.”

Theresa Waters, who knew Matthew through his involvement in the North Heidelberg Junior Football Club, said the 11-year-old was a “good kid”.

“You had to check if he was actually there because he was so quiet,” Ms Waters, 34, said.

“He never made a fuss over anything.”

Ms Waters said Matthew had played at the club for two seasons.

“He loved his footy,” Ms Waters said.

“He kicked a few goals in the very last game he played.”

An exact cause of death is still not known and toxicology reports are expected take up to eight weeks.

Investigators have now finished processing the scene on Southern Rd.

Police have spoken with a number of witnesses and are urging more to come forward.

The arson and explosives squad is investigating the matter and will now prepare a brief for the Coroner.

20 thoughts on “Mum killed kids before torching house and suiciding

  1. mother of the year! ! ! !
    can only imagine the horrendous way these children felt at the hands of there own mother..and even that is too much. heartwrenching. p.s great website, robbo!

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  2. Samantha´s father had told Department of Human Services previosly that his ex-wife was a danger to the kids but they did nothing. Were the genders reversed they would have acted swintly to protect the kids.

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    • DHS had already taken the 3 kids once before, but due to circumstances they went back which had nothing to do with DHS. I agree that the system did fail those kids but I think the 2 fathers have a lot to answer for.

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  3. Samantha was a great girl, she was so kind to everyone at carrum downs secondary the school she attended.
    She would have been so terrified by how she would have spent her last moments alive, and no teenager/ child should have to endure that i feel for what has happened to her although she wasn’t a friend of mine from our school i knew her and i hope she rests in peace in heaven.

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  4. Lauren clearly you know more about this than me, and more than the papers report. From your post it is clear that DHS knew the kids were in danger from the mother. Where they in danger from the father they would have made sure there was an intervention order in place against him and made sure he went to jail if he breached it.

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    • Roy, the problem with the fathers is there lack of interest and involvement. Knowing about the kids situations and doing nothing. Lucky Sammy got out and was living with her step-mum and living a happy peaceful life.

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  5. Lauren thank you for the update.
    Are you sure the father´s lack of involvement was due to lack of interest? Many separated fathers are locked out of their children´s lives by vicious mothers, often assisted by DHS and the courts. Every year about 1,400 of these distraught fathers commit suicide.

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    • Clearly Lauren you know bugger all,about everything….. An intervention order only last 12 months. unless stated otherwise..Its very hard to get a life long intervention order….Believe me…As for Gary he had custody of Sammantha from when she was 11 years of age .So please tell me how is Gary responsible ? As everyone knows a father isn’t the same as a mother, however he done the best he knew how….Sammantha had kept her contact with her mother and half sister and brother from him…But only a few times within the past 12 moths…..As we all know that Sammantha and Gary weren’t talking at the time of Sammantha’s death. You tell me a teenager that hasn’t has a fight with their parents or hasn’t ran away from home, As being a Foster parent myself. I see it more than you would ever know…..Sammantha was very lucky to have had Leanne. As Leanne is a lovely lady who cared a lot and treated Sammantha as 1 of her own….Dom the Father of Melanie and Matthew had clearly stated in the papers he had no intentions of contacting the two children until they become of age. the last known report with D.H.S with Kylie was 2004, a year after The father walked out, then the father moved to Tasmania in 2007, and no contact since, and that report was that Kylie had admitted had herself to get help for server depression. The children going into foster care…. How she slipped threw the system from there is not known too anyone. Also for everyone’s information Kylie has never been MARRIED not to Gary, nor to Dom the father of Melanie and Matthew.

      Lauren your right on 1 thing Sammantha was lured there…

      I know what Kylie done was most inhumane, and unforgivable.

      However Kylie, Sammantha,Melanie,and Matthew, was still someone’s DAUGHTER, someone’s SON someone’s SISTER, someone’s BROTHER and someone’s FRIEND. The FAMILIES, have to deal with the lost DAUGHTER, Their GRANDCHILDREN, Their NIECE’S, NEPHEW, and COUSINS. and the horrific circumstances of how they lost so many family members on one foul swift….give the family time to grieve. and unless you know true facts stop posting…..

      R.I.P Sammantha, Melanie,Matthew. Kylie.

      From a loving, caring and respectful friend of the family. xx

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      • Hi Kate,
        First of all I would like to thank you for saying that I am kind person. There are things that you have written that are truly personal and there is so much more to the story than you would ever know. The people that know the truth to all the situation is Gary, myself and obviously Dom. People do not know what happens behind closed doors and I certainly have experienced as well as my children things that should not occur, hence Sam lived with me. Melainie and Matthew also lived with us in the past. So this has had a huge impact on myself and my children. Sam had achieved so much in her life and yes as parents we do have problems with our teenagers but there is more to this. I am so shocked that you have named us in an article as I have tried so hard to stay away from the press to protect my children. I know that there are so many affected By Sams death and there are so many opinions out there but need to make this clear to everyone Sam did not go to the house to start an argument this was all premeditated by Kylie and she was lured there. I am absolutely shattered by all of this and I am still trying to stay strong for my children.
        Lee

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  6. Hi Lee,
    My intentions were not to insult anyone in anyway, As only being a few days after the funeral, everything was still quiet raw and emotional, I do apologize for the mentions of names, However I thought that what i had written wasn’t harmful in anyway ? I was trying to stop the bullshit that was being posted..In which it did..Once again, Lee, Dom and Gary. I’m truly sorry for mentioning your names,

    Katie xx

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    • Hi Roy
      However, the mentions of names could of been withheld, out of respect, and that i failed to do….Thanks for your comment.
      cheers kate

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  7. Sammantha, i miss you so much everyday. I would give anything for you to be able to come out of this bad dream we are all having. i think about you so much, angel. Liv xxx

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  8. RIP Sam, I didn’t get to know you so well, but my Fiancé (Tim) and best friend (Lilly) knew you well,..
    I met you a few times whilst you were working at McDonalds, we had spoken and laughed at silly things, you were a lovely girl and myself and so many others wish we could rewind and take all this back, your funeral was wonderful and so full with all your family and friends,

    We All Miss You

    Alisha xox

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  9. I new her Famliy we were Famliy friends I was so surprised by this they were all great kids and Kylie the (mother) I’m so assumed that she would do this to her own kids!
    Rip kids xxx

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