Three young children and their father have been found dead in the village of Pontesbury in Shropshire.
The victims have been named locally as Sam Fuller, aged 12 and his sisters Rebecca, eight, and Charlotte, six. It is understood they had all been stabbed.
The body of their father, Ceri Fuller, 35, is reported to have been found nearby. He is believed to have left his home in Milkwall, near Coleford, last Thursday with the children.
West Midlands Ambulance Service said two rapid response vehicles, an ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance based at RAF Cosford attended the scene.
An ambulance service spokesman said: “Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that nothing could be done to save four people found at the scene and all four were confirmed deceased.”
Police say next of kin have been informed but formal identification has not yet taken place.
In a statement, West Mercia Police said: “Officers searching for missing man Ceri Fuller and his three children, from the Forest of Dean, have been made aware of the discovery of four bodies in Pontesbury, Shropshire, shortly before 10am this morning.
“The bodies were found in a wooded area by a police officer shortly before 10am today.”
Neighbours of the family in Milkwall, near Coleford, Gloucestershire, described their shock.
Janice Ayres, who lives next door in Station Road, said: “Very, very sad, I just cannot say any more. I didn’t even know her name (the children’s mother).
“I have children of my own and I would just be devastated. I am surprised. They kept themselves to themselves. It’s so sad for three young children. Being out at work all day you don’t really know your neighbours. They were no trouble at all.”
The two schools the three children attended also paid tribute. Mrs Jan Wagstaff, headteacher of St John’s Church of England Primary, said: “Rebecca and Charlotte were absolutely delightful children and a pleasure to have in school.Another neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, added: “They hadn’t lived here all that long. They kept themselves to themselves.”
“Sam was also a pupil here before he moved on to Lakers. He was a lot of fun and always had a ready smile. They will all be very sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family.”
Alison Elliott, head of Lakers School, said: “We are desperately sad to hear the family are having to face such a dreadful situation.
“Sam was a well loved member of our extended family here at Lakers. Our thoughts are with the family at this very tragic time. We have arrangements in place to support students, staff, friends and family at this very difficult time.”
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson told journalists a murder investigation was now under way. although police were not looking for anyone in connection with the incident.
He added that all four bodies were found in a disused quarry area near to each other.