A father and his young daughter are fighting for life after they were discovered unconscious in a bedroom overcome by gas in what police describe as a ‘domestic violence incident’.
Police were called to a home in Eden Hills in Adelaide’s south-east just after midnight on Thursday following a frantic Triple-0 call from the man’s distraught wife.
She told the operator she had found him and their three-year-old daughter unconscious in a ‘gas filled bedroom’.
When police arrived, they found architect Shaun Mate, 43, and his little girl Eloise lying on the floor unresponsive.
His wife and the couple’s six-month-old daughter were in another room at time and were unharmed.
Shaun Mate and his daughter Eloise (pictured together) remain in a critical condition after the pair were found unconscious in a ‘gas filled bedroom’
Mr Mate and his daughter were treated at the scene before they were rushed to Flinders Medical Centre in a critical condition.
A police spokeswoman said the man and little girl both remained in critical on Thursday night.
Eloise was later transferred to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and placed in a induced coma, with her mother remaining at her bedside.
Mr Mate is also in an induced coma under police guard.
It is understood doctors won’t know for days whether either of them have suffered any permanent brain damage, if they survive.
Mr Mate’s wife is a doctor with an interest in mental health.
The couple are also believed to be keen scuba divers and recently celebrated their five year wedding anniversary.
Crime scene investigators remained at the single storey home on Thursday, where they were seen leaving with several bags of evidence – including a computer hard drive, oxygen tanks and several gas cylinders.
Mr Mate’s wife (pictured with her husband) made the frantic Triple-0 call just after midnight
Shaun Mate (pictured with paramedics on the stretcher) was rushed to Flinders Medical Centre, where he remained in a critical condition on Thursday night under police guard
Police also door-knocked nearby homes as they tried to piece together what happened.
They are investigating the circumstances of the incident, but is not considered to be random.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the investigation was in its ‘very early stages’ but said it was believed to be a ‘domestic violence related’.
‘Obviously very tragic circumstances but at this stage the indications are that it may be domestic-violence related but it’s too early for us to be specific about the causes,’ he said.
Shaun Mate remains under police guard at Flinders Medical Centre in a critical condition
Police are trying to piece together how Shaun Mate and his daughter Eloise ended up unconscious in a ‘gas filled bedroom’
He added the incident had taken a toll on the emergency workers who responded to the Triple-0 call.
‘I can speak from personal experience and I think most police officers can as well, when you’re involved in a set of circumstances that involves injury or harm to a small child it does make the job that much more difficult and there’s a personal toll that comes with dealing with those sorts of situations,’ Commissioner Stevens said.
‘You can’t take away from the fact that you’re dealing with a tragic set of circumstances.’
Any potential charges won’t be laid until officers are able to speak to Mr Mate when his condition improves.
‘Once the treatment is provided and we have a clearer picture of exactly what’s happened,’ Commissioner Stevens said.
News of the harrowing incident shocked neighbours in Kinedana Street.
Shaun Mate and his wife, a doctor, recently celebrated their five year wedding anniversary
‘We saw someone was being sent into the ambulance and someone was crying,’ Ben Xiong told the Adelaide Advertiser.
Professor Vincent Megaw has lived in the quiet neighbourhood for three decades.
‘It’s just total disbelief,’ he said.
‘This is the most unquiet thing that has happened since we’ve been here.’
Betty Malavazos said her granddaughters played chasey with the little girl at a neraby park only a few days ago.
‘She is a beautiful little girl – a sweet little girl – and I pray to god for her,’ she told reporters.
Fellow neighbour Peter Kavouras’ only thoughts were for the little girl.
‘My heart goes out to her and I hope she pulls though as quickly as possible,’ he said.
For confidential support call Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636.
Forensic police were seen examining the home, where they seized a number of items