Three girls under 10 found slain in Maryland home
Crime scene tape (

Three girls under 10 years of age were found slain on Friday in a Maryland home and police have launched an investigation into the killings, officials said.

A family member who returned to the home in Clinton, a suburb of Washington, discovered the bodies and called police at about 7:30 a.m. EDT. The girls were pronounced dead by fire department personnel, Prince George's County police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said.

"We are now in the midst of a major investigation into what happened to these children," Donelan told a news conference.

She said the girls had suffered trauma to their bodies, adding: "This is a homicide."

Donelan did not identify the children, give their exact ages or say how they might be related. She said that, although neighborhood residents had expressed fear about the safety of their own children, the incident was limited to the one home.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Sandra Maler)