Update: May 2, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
Four children returned to their North Bellmore home after school Tuesday afternoon to find their mother dead on the floor of the laundry room and their father locked in an upstairs bedroom.
Thomas Hayes, 43, stabbed his wife, Sherrelle Hayes, 44, and then hung himself, police said.
According to Homicide Det. Sgt. Greg Lesmeister, the couple's 13-year-old daughter was the first to arrive home and her father only spoke to her from behind the door. Lesmeister said Hayes instructed her to pick up her other siblings - ages 10, 9 and 7 - from school. When she and three other siblings returned to the Smith Avenue home, they could not get in the front door.
The children gained entry through another door and found blood on the kitchen floor. They then followed the blood trail and found their mother lying on the laundry room floor, according to police. They also saw a note and allegedly notified police.
The 13-year-old then went upstairs to the bedroom to look for her father, but the door was locked.
When police arrived on the scene, they found Sherrelle Hayes dead with three stab wounds and found Thomas Hayes in the upstairs bedroom, hanging from the ceiling. Thomas Hayes was transported to Nassau University Medical Center where he died.
Authorities said that they removed numerous items from the house, but they have not determined what Thomas Hayes used to stabbed his wife.
Police said that Sherrelle Hayes, who worked for an insurance company in Jericho, took her children to school that morning and then returned home. Thomas Hayes worked nights as a construction engineer in Manhattan, police said.
Neighbors told police that they heard the two arguing early that morning.
"We believe that Sherrelle Hayes was killed hours before she was found," Lesmeister said.
Lesmeister also said that there were problems in the Hayeses' marriage.
"There is absolutely some indication of it," he said. "There was a marital discord and some legal troubles."
Thomas Hayes was involved in an open larceny case involving the federal government and possibly made a plea not to serve jail time, Lesmeister said.
Neighbor Mike Sudlow told Patch that his 11-year-old daughter plays with the family's second oldest child. Sudlow said he has known the family for more than 10 years.
"I’m in shock," he said. "They seemed to be the nicest couple. If you were looking for your kids, you went straight to their house because all of the kids played there."