Police are investigating whether a mother of three murdered in her Pakenham home had disturbed burglars.
The body of 42-year-old Kylie Blackwood was found inside her McCaffrey Rise home by her 11-year-old twin daughters when they returned from school yesterday.
Detective Inspector John Potter says Mrs Blackwood was the victim of a vicious assault.
"This is a normal suburban family, we are not dealing with anything other than that, and that's the horrific nature of it," he said.
"This is a baffling crime."
He says the girls, their 13-year old brother and their father, are devastated.
"The family are extremely traumatised, we've been able to glean some information in regard to the sequence of events from them, but as you can understand this is a highly traumatic time," he said.
While forensic officers searched for clues today, detectives made a public plea to neighbours.
"We're appealing for anyone that may have seen suspicious activity in the area preceding yesterday's attack, in particular anyone walking or behaving suspiciously in the streets nearby," Inspector Potter said.
Police have not ruled out whether she was killed by burglars.
They say there was no sign of forced entry into the house, and believe the attacker or attackers entered via the garage.
Neighbour Aline Schmidt says the small community is in shock.
"Quite a shock to everybody because we're only a small court but we're all friendly, it's just shock for everybody," she said.
She says the family was always very friendly.
"She (the victim) always made the time to stop and say hello," Ms Schmidt said.
Another neighbour, Narelle McIntyre, spoke highly of the family.
"It's terrible," she said.
"Last night when I got home from work I was quite emotional, to think such a terrible thing has happened, and to think the kids are now without a mother," she said.
She described last night's scene as chaos.
"There was police everywhere, I knew something tragic had happened," she said.
"Until I know the circumstances, I'm not going to feel very peaceful I think.
"It leaves you feeling unsettled."