Police say two children found dead along with their father after a 23-hour standoff at a Missouri apartment likely died before officers arrived.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said during a news conference Tuesday that the children were fatally shot by their father, William Williams.

Police say the father was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when police entered the apartment in Springfield after the standoff, which began late Sunday and ended around 9 p.m. Monday.

The chief said the suspect talked to negotiators about his 4-year-old son, Brodie, and 2-year-old daughter, Marley, but never said they were dead.

He says investigators may never know the motive. A local attorney says William Williams and his wife were divorcing and working on a custody plan for the children.

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