A New York woman and her four young children were hacked to death with a meat cleaver in their Brooklyn home, and the father's cousin has been charged with their murders, the police have said.

Police on Saturday found two boys, two girls and their mother with multiple wounds at their home in the Sunset Park area.

Ming Dong Chen, the 25-year-old cousin of the children's father, was at the home and was taken into custody. He was charged with five counts of murder, criminal possession of a weapon and assaulting a police officer, a police spokesman said.

Three of the children were found dead at the scene. The woman and one of the children were later pronounced dead at hospital. 

The victims were identified as William Zhuo, one; Kevin Zhuo, five; Amy Zhuo, seven; Linda Zhuo, nine; and Qiao Zhen Li, 37. 

Li's husband returned home after the police arrived and is not suspected of any involvement in the killings, police said.

Police declined to discuss a possible motive for the killings.

Source: Agencies