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A California sheriff’s representative arrived at a suburban apartment complex Wednesday and found three dead children and their mother hanging by a thread after a suicide attempt.
Now Patricia Ortiz, a 31-year-old mother of three from Le Grand, California, will now face murder charges after she allegedly killed children aged 3, 5 and 8.
According to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, someone called for a welfare check at a home on Bryce Street in Le Grand at around 2:10 p.m.
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California woman injured, 3 children found dead inside home
“When deputies arrived, they found three dead children inside the residence along with an adult woman who suffered from wounds inflicted by herself,” the department said in a statement on Thursday.
Investigators said deputies found Ortiz seriously injured. He took “life-saving measures” at the scene and was taken to hospital for treatment ahead of his expected booking at the Merced County Jail.
Authorities identified the children as Alexa Ortiz Lara, 3; Matteo Ortiz Lara, 5; and Anna Ortiz Lara, 8.
On Wednesday, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Daryl Allen said Le Grand is a small, tidy town.
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“I can tell you that by living here for a long time, this whole city – I would call it one family – everybody in this city knows everybody,” he said. “So when something like this happens it affects everyone.”
He said he could not yet disclose the cause of the children’s deaths or the nature of Ortiz’s injuries pending investigation.
A neighbor Elias Vargas told local media that he was at home when he heard a man screaming and then saw him walking back and forth between the apartment complex and Le Grand Elementary a few feet away.
“They said, ‘My kids got killed!’ So that’s when I realized something serious happened in the house,” Vargas told KFSN-TV.
The children’s father was identified as Israel Ortiz in a crowdfunding post set up to help cover the family’s funeral expenses. He could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday evening.
Online records did not yet show Ortiz in custody at the county jail Friday evening.
Anyone with knowledge of the case is asked to call detectives at (209) 385-7472.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
California mom charged with killing her 3 kids in attempted murder-suicide