A mother in California is accused of murdering her three young children before attempting to take her own life, authorities said.
Patricia Ortiz, 30, was arrested on three counts of murder in connection to the triple homicide of Anna Ortiz Lara, 8, Matteo Ortiz Lara, 5, and Alexa Ortiz Lara, 3, KFSN-TV reported.
“She's been cooperative, she's spoken with the detectives,” Merced County Sheriff's Office Deputy Daryl Allen said at a press conference. “I don't know what the extent of those conversations is, but she has spoken to them.”
Officials said they believed the suspect’s husband discovered his children dead at the family’s apartment in Merced on Jan. 12. Officers responding to a call for a wellbeing check at the apartment complex around 2:10 p.m. found a person, outside screaming, the Merced Sun-Star reported.
A neighbor told the outlet Ortiz’s husband was shouting, “Help me, my kids.”
“The husband was going crazy. A gentleman was helping [Ortiz] while she was in the tub. She’d slit her wrists and was bleeding. A guy was helping her trying to make sure she was alive,” said the woman who wished to remain anonymous.
The witness noted the victims “were cold and just gone.”
According to KFSN-TV, investigators said the older children both attended classes at their nearby elementary school earlier in the day of their murders.
Police have not released a possible motive for the three murders.
“Anna Daniela, Matteo and Alexa were happy, full of life and loved by all who knew them,” states a GoFundMe set up by family to help pay for the three victims' funeral expenses.
In a statement, Le Grand Elementary School District officials said the school community was “heartbroken” about the “enormous loss” of the young children.
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