Family jump to their deaths from 7th floor as cops called over home schooling

Four members of a French family died in the Swiss resort of Montreux on Thursday and a fifth is in a serious condition after they fell from the 7th floor of their apartment building, police said.

The Vaud cantonal police said they were still investigating, but have ruled out there being another person in the apartment on Lake Geneva.

Some reports suggested that the family jumped moments after police officers tried to execute an arrest warrant in connection with the home-schooling of a child.

Police said officers had gone to the apartment with a warrant for the father related to the home-schooling of one of the two children.

Officers returned later after a witness notified them that people had fallen from a balcony, police said.

"Five members of the same family fell … from the balcony of their apartment in Montreux located on the 7th floor of a building on the street of the casino.

"A man, two women and a young girl died and an adolescent has been hospitalised in serious condition," the police statement said.

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The father, aged 40, his wife and her twin sister, 41, and the 8-year-old girl died, while the couple's 15-year-old son survived, it said, adding that formal identification was under way.

A witness at the scene said they saw the people lying on the ground without shoes before alerting the police.

"We do not know yet whether they fell or if this drama was due to other circumstances," police spokesman Jean-Christophe Sauterel told the RTS public broadcaster.

An investigation has been opened to "determine the exact circumstances and reasons for this tragegy."

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An anonymous neighbour who heard a thud said he went outside to investigate and saw five bodies.

"I thought it was a bad film, I couldn't fix the image for more than a few seconds," he said.

Neighbour Claude Rouiller told Swiss newspaper Le Temps there was a strong smell of incense coming from the family's apartment for the past few days, while other neighbours claim the family were part of a cult.

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