The bodies of a man, his wife, and their son and daughter were found inside a locked car at Mayipadi, near here, on Tuesday.

The police identified the dead as P.C. Sony Kutty, 45, an employee of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.; Thresyamma, 39, a nurse at the General Hospital here; Jerin, 14, and Jewel, 10. Preliminary police reports suggest murder and suicide.

A note, purportedly written by Sony Kutty, recovered from their house at Kudlu, blamed the extreme act on financial burden.

The note names some 20 persons to whom he owes money. He was forced to kill his wife and children as he did not want to leave them in the lurch, it adds.

Uttamdas, sub-inspector, Vidyanagar police station here, said the woman and children were stabbed to death inside the house. There was blood in two bedrooms. A knife was recovered from one.

The note says the murders were committed at 3.50 a.m. The police said the man could have taken the bodies to the car along with an LPG cylinder. He had apparently opened the cylinder inside the closed vehicle and set it ablaze, killing himself. The car was found 15 km from the house. Local people noticed the partially charred vehicle around 1 p.m.