A Fort Worth man is believed to have killed his two young children and set fire to a car with their bodies inside before he fatally shot himself, according to the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office, a justice of the peace and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
The children’s bodies were found in the back seat of a burning car in Cooke County on Sunday, and their father’s body was found Monday in a wooded area near the crime scene.
Officials identified the victims as Ajit Singh Birring, a 4-year-old boy, and Mehar Kaur Birring, a 3-year-old girl. Autopsies are pending to determine how they were killed.
One child was in a car seat and the other was nearby in the back seat, Justice of the Peace Carroll Johnson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a Tuesday telephone interview.
Authorities had been searching for Mandeep Singh, 37, of Fort Worth, who was a suspect in the brutal killing of his kids following a bitter divorce. Singh’s body was found Monday in Cooke County about a mile away from the burned car, which is near the Oklahoma state line about 65 miles north of Fort Worth.
Singh appeared to have died from self-inflicted gunshot wound, Cooke County Sheriff Terry Gilbert said.
Gilbert said investigators believe the case was a murder-suicide.
“No motive has been established,” Gilbert said in a Tuesday news release.
The tragic ending for the family closed a chapter for Singh and his ex-wife that included a family assault, parenting classes and contested issues over their property, child support and health insurance for the children, according to Fort Worth police reports and court records.
His ex-wife had recently obtained a restraining order against him that mandated he have no contact with her unless it was about the children.
DFPS said the department previously had contact with the family more than a year ago, but “that interaction did not involve injuries to the children.”
Family gathered at a home in the 9000 block of Georgetown Place on Monday evening. The children the couple had together lived there with their mother, Singh’s ex-wife, Narinder Pal Kaur.
One man shook his head and said, “not today” when a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter approached the house.
Court paperwork says that Singh moved out of the house and to the 3900 block of Spencer Street, in the same neighborhood, during the couple’s divorce. No one answered a knock on the door Monday evening.
A Cooke County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher received a call Sunday about a car that was on fire in the middle of a rural road in northwest Cooke County.
Muenster volunteer firefighters responded to the scene, extinguished the flames and found the remains of the two children.
Johnson, the justice of the peace, said Tuesday that the car was destroyed by the time firefighters arrived.
“It’s ranch land and very few people live out that way,” Johnson said. “So it took some time before anyone even called in the fire.”
Cooke County deputies and investigators, a fire marshal and Texas Rangers arrived on the scene and began an investigation. Authorities determined that the fire was intentionally set and issued a warrant for Singh’s arrest on capital murder charges, saying he was believed to be armed and dangerous.
Cooke County deputies found Singh dead about 12:30 p.m. Monday in a creek bed. His body was in an area heavily covered by trees and brush, the sheriff said.
Previous domestic assault, divorce
Singh was previously arrested in October 2016 in Fort Worth on a charge of assault with bodily injury against Kaur, who was then his wife, according to Tarrant County court records.
Police responded to a 911 hang-up and open line at a Fort Worth home. Singh’s wife, 38, reported she had been assaulted.
Singh was sentenced to 15 months probation on the charge in May 2017. The charge was dismissed in August 2018 after he served his probation, according to court records.
Kaur filed for divorce in July 2017, according to court records, and Singh filed a few days later. They were married on Dec. 31, 2008, and they stopped living together on Oct. 30, 2016.
In his petition for divorce, Singh asked the court for his wife to pay child support, health insurance premiums for coverage of the children and 50 percent of the children’s uninsured medical expenses while the case was pending.
Singh and his wife were in court for several months during the divorce. She earned a certificate for co-parenting essentials in December 2017, according to court records.
A court report indicated Singh was allowed to take the kids to New York in the summer of 2018 as long as he provided a telephone number to his wife and the grandparents ensured he would return with the kids.
A hearing in November 2018 was for contested issues such as property and debit division, conservatorship, possessions, child support and health insurance for a child.
A divorce was granted in November 2018, but Singh and his ex-wife continued to have court hearings this year, according to court records.