A former NRL player suspected of killing himself and his three children in a horrible car hell had rubbed the shoulders of All Blacks and struggling icons before his fiery death on Wednesday.
Rowan Charles Baxter, 42, and his three children Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey, all under the age of ten, died after the family’s white SUV at Camp Hill in southeastern Brisbane was fired on Wednesday morning at 8:20 am.
Witnesses reported that they had heard his wife Hannah Baxter – who had escaped the fire in a critical condition – shout “he poured gas on me” as she climbed out of the car.
Hannah and Rowan Baxter, with their three children (from left to right) Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey. Mr. Baxter is suspected of killing himself and his three children in a horrible car hell
Baxter – who had recently split up with his wife and closed the Integr8 fitness company that they ran together – was previously a member of the New Zealand warriors.
The company website of the former athlete described him as an accomplished body weight trainer for NRL and AFL rugby teams.
Social media photos showed Baxter posing with WWE’s The Undertaker and All Black Nathan Harris.
“The greatest person I have met. That time when the ENTREPRENEUR and I squared, “Baxter wrote in the caption next to the wrestler.
In others the father of three was portrayed with former Warriors stars Ruben Wiki and Ricky Henry and ex-Broncos and the Australian international attacker Matt Gillett.
The fitness trainer that year talked about working with strength and conditioning coaches from the NRL side to share expertise about their industry.
Meanwhile Mrs. Baxter described herself as “an enthusiastic, passionate mother of three.”
Sporting past: Rowan Baxter, during a premiere competition in New Zealand in 2008, with Kelvin Wright and Anthony Swans. He also played for the NZ Warriors in the NRL
Photos on social media showed Baxter posing with sporting stars, including WWE’s The Undertaker (right)
Another photo showed Baxter next to All Black Nathan Harris (right) with the caption thanking him for ‘a great catch up’
In others the father of three was depicted with ex-Broncos and Australian international attacker Matt Gillett (right)
Baxter (center) with former Warriors stars Ricky Henry (left) and Ruben Wiki (right)
Baxter is depicted with Lance Hohaia (right) – an ex-Warriors star and World Cup winner with New Zealand
She proudly told how she trained during each of her pregnancies and won gold and silver medals for trampoline jumping at international events.
The mother drove in the Kia Sportage which was set on fire and is in a critical condition in the hospital after ‘significant’ burns in the fire.
A good Samaritan neighbor rushed to her rescue and washed her down – but suffered burns herself.
Baxter flooded his Facebook site with photos and videos of his children and described them as “my world” – but is now suspected of having killed them in a suicide murder
The Baxters broke up last year and the company they ran – Integr8 Fitness – would have closed its doors at the end of 2019
Wreck: this is the white Kia Sportage SUV that went up in flames on Wednesday morning at 8.20 am in Camp Hill, in the southeast of Brisbane
The eruption occurred in Camp Hill, described as a chic, family-oriented suburb in the east of Brisbane
Baxter is believed to have stabbed himself with a knife during the horrific attack on his family.
The car damage happened just meters from the home of Hannah’s parents.
In recent months, Baxter has flooded his Facebook site with photos and videos of his children, describing them as “my world.”
“T-R-E-Y, love you to the moon and back,” he posted six days ago.
“Good night, my babies, Daddy loves you,” he posted a month ago.
On December 30, Baxter posted a photo of his three children and said, “I miss you all.”
However, friends were worried.
Joey Abraham, a weightlifting friend, wrote to Baxter four days ago: “Chin up, brother, everything will be fine, stay there hang my friend.
“Many people care about you and the situation you are confronted with.”
An angry Mr. Abraham told Daily Mail Australia after the tragedy: “Rowan was a bit out of place because of the divorce.
“If you knew Rowan when he was at his best and to see him like last week, you know how far he fell.
“T-R-E-Y, love you to the moon in the back,” wrote Rowan Baxter – before he was suspected of killing his children and himself. A friend, Joey Abraham, told him “chin up, everything will be fine”
Baxter’s New Years’ Day post: the suspected murderer NRL player brought the New Year with this post from his children into the shallow water. “Goodnight ratbags always in my heart,” was the caption
The family business: Rowan Baxter with Hannah Baxter and their three children pose for the company logo
Fitness coach: mother Hannah Baxter managed to climb out of her SUV but fights for hospital life. Upstairs she is holding her son Trey in a beach moment
“He was just a shadow of the person he was.
“It’s just unbelievable that he could do this.
“They were beautiful children, they were beautiful families.”
The Queensland police were summoned for an incident involving family violence involving the couple only last month, The Courier-Mail reported.
But the family was not involved in proceedings at the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.
HOW DEADLY CAR BLAZE UNFOLDED
Just after 8 o’clock on Wednesday, neighbors reported hearing an explosion that sounded like a “gas cylinder” explosion. At least four explosions followed.
A resident told The Australian newspaper a burning woman jumped out of the car and shouted: “He poured gas on me.”
“By that time you could not get close to the vehicle, unless you were wearing a good suit, you were simply no longer hopeful.
“The young lady rolled into flames on the sidewalk.”
A second neighbor told Daily Mail Australia that he was watching how the wounded woman was rinsed on a neighbor’s lawn.
“She was in a bad way,” he said.
The neighbor said he had spoken to a man who had tried to save the children: “He is in tears. “Babies in the car,” he said.
Allegedly, the car started rolling after the blasts and young traders at a construction site further on allegedly rushed to the stage with timber to stop it.
A ruined woman, Jemimah Black, lays flowers on the scene of hell
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner of Brisbane puts a teddy bear on a growing wake in Camp Hill
Residents rushed to help when thick smoke filled the street, but flames towered into the sky and there was little they could do to help
Wendy Antoniou, who lives in different houses, told Daily Mail Australia: “I thought something had landed on my roof, it was like BANG – I could feel the vibration.”
“I came by the side window – well, I almost died bloody. The fire department was everywhere, the ambulance was everywhere.
“I could only see the smoke. I didn’t know if it was a house on fire or something. Apparently this car exploded.
“First of all I couldn’t even see the flames – then I could see all these flames high in the sky!”
Mrs. Antoniou said she was so shocked by the fire that she then gave up.
The crime scene of the police in Camp Hill from Wednesday afternoon
Neighbors said that all they could see was thick, black smoke – followed by flames that lifted into the sky
Another resident told the Daily Mail that the morning started when he heard the sound of a smoke alarm and industrial equipment going off.
“I thought it might be a mill or something … then (after three or four minutes) I saw the smoke coming and people started making noises.”
He described the scene of the woman who was washed down by a neighbor as ‘quite confronting for all involved, extremely confronting for the residents’.
The local fire brigade is less than a kilometer away from the location of the tragedy, and firefighters were on fire almost immediately.
Another resident said she heard screams and ran to help.
“The flames were huge, absolutely insane,” he said The courier mail.
“We had to take a distance because the firefighters rushed in.”
Police Inspector Detective Mark Thompson told reporters that investigators had yet to determine whether the explosion was a suicide or a tragic accident.
“I have seen some horrible scenes,” Mr. Thompson said. “It’s something horrible to be confronted with.”
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