LOS ANGELES (AP) — Detectives arrested a mother for investigation of murder in the deaths of her three small children — including a newborn baby — in East Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.
The coroner’s office identified the children as Mia Camila Rodriguez, 4, and her brothers Mason Mateo Rodriguez, 3, and Milan Mateas Rodriguez, who was 1 month old. Their autopsies are pending.
Their mother, 28-year-old Sandra Chico, was being held on $2 million bail and is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday, a Sheriff’s Department statement said.
The statement said the arrest was based on the detectives’ preliminary investigation and that no additional information was available.
It was not immediately known if Chico had a lawyer to speak on her behalf. The case had not been presented to the district attorney’s office as of Tuesday morning.
The children were found in a bedroom in their home around 12:45 p.m. Monday after a family member called for help, according to Lt. Chuck Calderaro. They were not breathing, and efforts to revive them were not successful.
Neighbors placed flowers in front of the home to remember the children. Arturo Cerezo, an uncle, arrived as Chico was being detained.
“She would do anything for those kids,” he told KNBC. “That’s what’s so hard to understand. What happened?”
Authorities have said there was no obvious cause of death or physical signs of trauma.
“We still don’t know the cause, or the motive. All I know is, she wasn’t right,” the children’s grandmother, Rosalba Flores Castillo, told KTLA in Spanish.
“There was no forewarning of any kind,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “No repeated calls for service … no allegations of child abuse. This was out-of-the-blue tragedies.”
Neighbor Victor Ohm told FOX 11 he previously saw the kids playing in the yard whenever he left to get groceries.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Ohm told the TV station. “They were happy kids.”
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