US & Canada

Georgia mother held as father and four children stabbed to death

Isabel Martinez Image copyright Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Image caption Isabel Martinez is said to have been depressed following her father's death in Mexico

A Georgia mother is in custody after her four young children and their father were found dead in an apparent stabbing at their home, police said.

Isabel Martinez, 33, has been charged with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault.

Police found the bodies after responding to a 911 call in Loganville, located outside of Atlanta.

Another child inside the home was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The four children killed were identified as Isabela Martinez, 10; Dacota Romero, seven; Dillan Romero, four; and Axel Romero, two.

Their killed father was Martin Romero, 33.

The girl in hospital, Diana Romero, was in serious but stable condition.

Gwinnett County police Cpl Michele Pihera said: "Right now we believe we have everybody involved in this crime.

"What her motivations are for committing this horrendous crime, we still don't know."

Image copyright Gwinnett Police Department
Image caption Police tape at a children's play area at the crime scene

The suspect called police from the property at 04:47 local time (08:47 GMT) to report a stabbing.

Cpl Pihera said the mother spoke Spanish in the 911 call, which initially made it difficult for operators to communicate with her.

The suspect is an "illegally present Mexican national", according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

In Chicago, relatives of the family said Ms Martinez had been "a little down and depressed" because her father died in Mexico one day after Father's Day.

Police said the children were all under the age of 10 and the man in his mid-30s.

A knife appeared to be used in the attack, but a medical examiner will determine how each of the victims died, Cpl Pihera added.

A neighbour told WSB-TV that the woman may have been home with her deceased family members for hours before police arrived.

"It's reasonable to believe they were in the home all night," Gwinnett police Corporal Deon Washington told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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