Brazil is in deep mourning after six toddlers and a teacher were burned to death in a suspected arson attack on a nursery.
Police believe mentally ill security guard, Damiao Soares dos Santos, 50, poured gasoline over the children and himself then lit a match.
He then allegedly locked teacher Helley Abreu Batista, 43, in a room before setting it ablaze. She later succumbed to her injuries.
The horrific incident happened at the Innocent Children’s People Municipal Education Centre in Janaúba, in Minas Gerias, south east Brazil.
Dos Santos, who also died from his injuries, reportedly pre-planned the attack as police found gallons of fuel at his home.
A police spokesperson said: ‘Investigators believe the crime was premeditated and through diligent research they found gallons of fuel at the residence of the perpetrator.’
‘It was also found that Damiao symbolically marked the date of his father’s death, three years ago as the date to carry out the attack.
‘He told his family on Tuesday, that he had ‘a gift to give to everyone’ and they would soon find out.’
‘Investigators also ascertained that he was mentally ill and appeared to be obsessed with children.
‘The bodies of four children and the offender, Damião Soares dos Santos, have been released for burial.’
Around 50 children had been in the day care center when tragedy struck. The day center caters for children between the age of 2 and 5.
Four died at the scene and two more at hospital.
Another 23 victims are still being treated at hospital, seven in a critical condition.
It has been alleged the guard, who had worked at the nursery for nine years, ’embraced’ some of the children while he was burning, causing them to catch light.
Horror footage of the aftermath of the nursery has shocked Brazil to its core.
A woman is seen with her clothes and hair burned, wandering around outside the nursery in a state of shock.
Children are seen with their faces and clothes blackened from smoke, they too stumble around in a daze.
Parents are seen desperately hauling toddlers from the burning and smoke-filled building as screams ring out from trapped toddlers.
Locals also race to throw buckets of water over the burning children.
Police confirmed the names of the children who died at the scene as Ana Clara Ferreira Silva, Luiz Davi Carlos Rodrigues, Juan Pablo Cruz dos Santos and Ruan Miguel Soares Silva All were four years old.
Renan Nicolas dos Santos Silva, six years old, and Cecilia Davina Goncalves Dias, aged four, suffered 90 per cent and 80 per cent burns respectively.
They died while being transferred by helicopter to the Pronto-Socorro XXIII Hospital in the Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais.
Speaking to Minas media, Mayor of Janauba, Carlos Isaildon Mendes said there was no indication that Santos was about to carry out the atrocity.
He had no prior record of problems at work.
Mr Mendes said: ‘This is a very complicated situation. This was a decent employee who was on holiday from work.’
‘I had just returned from visiting the nursery when I was told (Damiao) knocked at the gate saying he wanted to deliver a medical certificate because he claimed he was not feeling well.’
‘He has been an employee since 2008 and has never had a bad record so we could never have anticipated something of this nature happening.’
Brazilian President Michel Temer voiced his horror at the atrocity. He told Globo News: ‘I am a father too so I understand the heartache. I want to express my solidarity and regret about this event, and hope that these things will not be repeated in Brazil.’
Janaúba city council announced seven days of mourning for those affected by the tragedy.