Cairo: A week on, police and prosecutors have yet to unravel the mystery of a five-member family that were found slain in their villa in a Cairo suburb.

The bodies of a man, his wife and their three children were found inside the villa in the plush quarter of Al Rehab east of Cairo, triggering panic among residents. The bodies were found on May 5, about four days after their death, according to local security guards.

Noisy barking by the family’s dog, tied outside the villa, prompted neighbours to complain to guards about it. When the guards went to the villa to complain about continuous barking by the dog, they received no answer, and a foul smell was emanating from the villa. When police were notified about it, they found the bodies lying inside the villa.

The dead were identified as Emad Saad, a 56-year-old businessman, his wife, aged 43, and their children: Mohammad, 22; Nourhan, 20; and Abdul Rahman, 18.

The incident generated wide coverage in the Egyptian media. An initial explanation was that the father killed his family and then committed suicide allegedly due to financial problems.

This presumption seems flimsy. An autopsy revealed the father had three bullets in the body, unusual for a person who takes his own life.

The family’s relatives also disputed the suicide theory, claiming the killings were the result of an act of business revenge. The father was in business of land and property.

“My brother received three bullets while each of his family members were killed by two shots, according to the forensic medical report,” Emad’s sibling, Rafaat, told a local television.

“In the last call I had from Emad, he talked about the disappearance of important documents, which he had presented to the court to back up his case in a business dispute,” he told private Egyptian station DMC TV.

Rafaat said there were unspecified attempts to mislead investigators by portraying the crime as a family suicide. “The crime was professionally perpetrated,” he added. “The one who killed my brother and his family should be brought to justice,” he added.

Souad Ahmad, a friend of the family, also absolved the father of being the murderer.

“Uncle Emad was a pious man. It was impossible he did this,” Souad, a colleague of Nourhan, said. “Uncle Emad and all members of his family were known for their good manners.”

Authorities have allowed to bury the five bodies. There has been yet no final statement from prosecutors about the circumstances that led to the incident, dubbed by the media “The massacre of Al Rehab”.