- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut father said Thursday he is struggling to comprehend the deaths of his two children at his ex-wife’s home and trying to raise money for their funerals.

Michael Moore of Bridgeport spoke to reporters about the deaths of 8-year-old Daaron and 6-year-old Aleisha. Their bodies were found Tuesday in their mother’s East Haven home, which was filled with natural gas. Their despondent mother was found with non-life-threatening injuries to her arm and brought to a hospital, authorities said.

“Any time they were with me, they always had a smile on their face, and that I always promised to do right by them and daddy wants to make you smile one last time before you go home,” Moore said. “Daaron, my only son. Fun loving, 8-year-old boy. My baby, Aleisha, just everything she did she excelled in. She was very wise beyond her years.”

Moore said support and prayers are pouring in and helping him cope with the tragedy. The family was seeking help in paying for the children’s funeral, and a giveforward.com campaign has raised more than $2,300 of the $10,000 goal.

East Haven police haven’t yet released the names of the children and their mother, and it remains unclear how the children died. The medical examiner’s office is trying to determine the cause of death.

Authorities said the children likely had been dead inside the home for at least 24 hours. Police believe the house was filled with natural gas because someone deliberately turned on the gas.

Property records show Moore’s ex-wife, LaRoya Moore, owns the home.

A friend of the woman found wounded at the home had called 911 from outside. She told a dispatcher that the woman had sent her a letter in which she threatened to kill herself. She also said the woman told her in a phone call Tuesday that she had cut herself.

LaRoya Moore was charged in April with assaulting Michael Moore last year in New Haven. The case is pending.

The Hartford Courant reported Thursday that LaRoya Moore was convicted of child abuse and state officials removed two other children from her custody in 2006. Police said she repeatedly beat her 4-year-old daughter with a mop handle.

LaRoya Moore was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to risk of injury to a minor, the Courant reported.

She also was convicted in 2001 of reckless endangerment, reduced from the more serious charge of risk of injury to a minor.

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