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Couple who adopted 12 children slain

  • Story Highlights
  • Eight children found in home with slain parents, authorities say
  • Byrd and Melanie Billings had adopted 12 children
  • Parents were found shot to death in their Florida home, near Pensacola
  • Surveillance video shows three men in a red van entering property before deaths
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(CNN) -- Eight children were found in the Florida home of their slain parents, who apparently were the victims of a home invasion, police confirmed to CNN Friday.

Byrd and Melanie Billings are seen surrounded by their children.

The couple were found shot Thursday night in their Beulah home, said Escambia County Police spokesman Sgt. Ted Roy. One of the parents was shot in the head, he said. Beulah is about 17 miles northwest of Pensacola.

The victims were identified as Byrd and Melanie Billings by Jeff Martin, director of the District Medical Examiner's Office. Autopsies have not been completed, he said.

The Billings have 16 children; 12 of them adopted, some of whom have special needs, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Nancy Markham, a relative of the family, told CNN affiliate WEAR-TV that her son was inside the Billings' home when the shootings occurred.

"He said that Bud and Melanie had, both of them had been murdered," Markham said.

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Three men dressed in black were seen on surveillance video approaching the property in a late 1970s or early 1980s red van about 7 p.m., authorities say.

Emergency personnel and police went to the home Thursday after receiving a call just before 8 p.m. about shots being fired, Roy said. An employee of the couple found their bodies, he said.

When police arrived, they discovered the children also in the house, Roy said. The children, who ranged in age from infant to about 11 years old, were unharmed, he said.

CNN's Carolina Sanchez contributed to this report.

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