Mother found dead at Dartmoor along with her two children was depressed say neighbours and had gone missing before

Katherine Hooper had disappeared with two children in May last year before being found covered in mud and dehydrated

A young mother found dead along with her two children suffered from severe depression following domestic difficulties, according to her neighbours.

Police began investigating after the bodies of Katherine Hooper, 24, and her five-year-old son Joshua Patterson were found at the bottom of a 100ft cliff in Dartmoor National Park on Friday.

The body of a two-year-old boy was later discovered at her home address in Dukes Close, Paignton.

Last May, police launched a major search and rescue operation after Ms Hooper suddenly disappeared with her two children.

When fears for their safety grew, officers called on the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team to help with the search.

Twenty-four hours later, Ms Hooper was found reportedly covered in mud and suffering from dehydration.

She was then taken to hospital while her two sons were taken into care, but two weeks ago, Ms Hooper and her two sons moved back into their home in Dukes Close.

Devon and Cornwall Police have launched a murder investigation led by the force's major crime investigation team.

Detectives said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident - but confirmed all three had been known to various welfare agencies and a Serious Case Review would also be launched as well.

Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan said: “We are keeping an open mind about all three deaths, but at this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

“We are keen to speak to anyone who may have any information or might have been in the Haytor area earlier today, Friday.”

An air ambulance, a police helicopter and members of the Dartmoor Rescue Group were called to Haytor in Devon at 11.50am on Thursday.

The Dartmoor National Park Authority has asked members of the public to avoid visiting the area following the tragedy.

Tributes were paid to the mother and child by members of the emergency services.

The Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team tweeted: “The team were called to assist at a tragic incident at Haytor today.

“Our thoughts are with the family.”

Post-mortem examinations are due to take place and next of kin have been informed, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 101, quoting log 316 of 120713.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)