A medical investigation found the subsequent deaths of three children from the same family between February and May in the eastern province of Kars was linked to a gene mutation in their hearts.
Hacı Güler and Zeynep Güler, living in a village of Kars's Arpaçay district, were at a loss for an explanation when three of their four children died over a short period of time. They first lost three-and-a-half-year-old Aybüke on Feb. 21, then 5-year-old Enes in April and finally, 5-months-old Gözde on May 20, and all three died in their sleep.
Turkish doctors did not find anything when they examined the bodies, but sent gene samples from the last victim to a laboratory in Finland for further investigation.
The Finnish lab discovered a gene mutation led to a partial enlargement in the victims' hearts and eventually their death. Dr. Ebru Marzioğlu Özdemir, a Turkish doctor from a hospital in the province of Erzurum where the family was first examined, told reporters the parents may not necessarily suffer from the enlargement as it was detected to be asymptomatic in parents in similar cases.