Four siblings who killed themselves after they were abandoned by their parents left a note saying, ‘today is the day to go’, according to reports.
The boy and three girls, aged between 5 and 13 were unable to be saved after they all drank poison, police say.
The boy and three girls were hospitalised after taking the shocking incident in Bijie City in China’s southwestern province Guizhou on Tuesday.
Officers say they do not know if they intended to kill themselves and have been unable to find the children’s parents.
Their mother, Ren Xifen, is said to have left home in March 2014 after a long and bitter feud with her husband Zhang Fangqi, who left the village to find work in March, according to local Communist Party chief Gao Huacheng.
The siblings were forced to fend for themselves and had 500kg of stored corn and 25kg of preserved meat in their home, reports Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Zhang sent money to a bank card he gave his eldest son, police found.
There was more than 3,500 yuan (£350) left on the bank card.
Pan Ling, a remote relative of the children, said the four kids were withdrawn and often missed school.
Previously they were looked after by their grandparents, but they have passed away.
China has more than 60 million children in rural areas who are left to relatives, usually grandparents, by their parents who travel for better-paid jobs.
Bijie was the scene of a similar tragedy almost three years ago when five runaway boys suffered carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a fire in a rubbish bin they used to escape the cold.
To help beat depression or suicidal thoughts go online to samaritans.org or call 08457 90 90 90.