Mother of 5: ‘I killed my children’

Associated Press

HOUSTON — A woman called police to her home Wednesday and showed a stunned officer the bodies of her five young children, all apparently drowned in the bathtub. "I killed my children," she told authorities before she was arrested.

The 36-year-old woman, whose name was withheld pending charges, was said to be on medication for depression following the birth of her fourth child two years ago. Social services officials also said she had attempted suicide two years ago.

The officer who responded to the call was not prepared for the scene inside the home in a middle-class neighborhood of southeastern Houston near NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Autopsies will be performed to determine the cause of death, but police said they believe the children were drowned. Their mother was wet when she answered the door.

"She said to the officer, ‘I killed my children.’ " police spokesman John Cannon said.

He said the officer asked where the children were and was led to a bedroom. Found under a sheet on a bed were Mary, 6 months, and three of her brothers — Luke, 2; Paul, 3; and John, 5. The fifth child, Noah, 7, was in the bathtub.

Police gave no motive for the slayings, but the woman’s husband told police she had been on medication to treat postpartum depression since Luke’s birth.

Judy Hay, a spokeswoman for Children’s Protective Services, said records indicate the woman attempted suicide on June 18, 1999. Five days later, CPS was called because mental health officials worried the children didn’t have proper care.

"We found them at their grandparents with their father," Hay said. "It was never assigned because there was no abuse or neglect."

Cannon said the woman called her husband home Wednesday morning after calling police. The man, a computer specialist at NASA, arrived about the same time as police, but was kept out of the home. His wife was later led away in handcuffs from the one-story Spanish-style home.

The couple’s three oldest boys attended a party over the weekend at the home of Raymond Rivera, whose grandson Rocky was celebrating his first birthday. The children smacked a pinata, ate cake and appeared to enjoy themselves.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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