A man and woman were found dead inside a Southeast Washington apartment Thursday afternoon, D.C. police said.

Two children, ages 2 and 1, were also inside the two-story brick apartment, off Minnesota Avenue in the Anacostia area. The children were not injured, police said.On Thursday evening, they were placed in protective custody.

A caller discovered the bodies in the apartment in the 1600 block of 17th Street SE and called 911 about 4 p.m., said Officer Hugh Carew, a police spokesman.

Officers went inside the apartment building and found the bodies, but detectives had to wait for hours for a search warrant. The circumstances and motives of the slayings weren’t clear late Thursday night, as investigators tried to determine whether the deaths were the result of a domestic confrontation or something else.

Grieving family members arrived at the crime scene and sobbed as they looked to detectives for answers and confirmation that their loved ones were found inside. Police had not yet positively identified the bodies.

Officers cordoned off a one-block stretch in the neighborhood of brick apartment buildings and rowhouses.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said one of the bodies had suffered trauma, but she declined to say whether it was the man or the woman.

“We don’t know what we have at this point,” Lanier said Thursday evening. “We don’t know whether it’s a murder-suicide or what we’re dealing with.”