The mother of two children who were found dead in a Tempe, Arizona, apartment has been detained, police said Saturday.
Police found a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy dead in the apartment after the children’s mother flagged down an officer about 7 a.m. and told him “she was hearing voices telling her to kill her kids,” Tempe Police Sgt. Steven Carbajal said at a news conference.
The children had “obvious signs of physical trauma,” a Tempe police release said.
“It was something very traumatic for our officers to walk into,” Carbajal said, even though they are trained to deal with these things.
Police had been at the apartment earlier that day, just after midnight, because of a domestic dispute, Carbajal said. The news release said the dispute was between the husband and the wife.
“At that time, everything seemed to be OK. The parties were separated, the children were found to be in good condition, OK and alive at that point,” he said.
“The children were safe in their bed” when officers left, Carbajal said. “It didn’t seem like there was an immediate threat to the children.”
The mother is being interviewed, Carbajal said, and is not under arrest “at this time. She’s just being detained so we can figure out what happened.”
The father was not home “at the time of the incident,” Carbajal said, and he is not currently a suspect.
The father “just broke down” after being informed of the children’s deaths, Carbajal said.
“This should have never happened,” he said. “What the children experienced is just horrific, really.”
The city’s crisis response team and the police department’s peer support group are working with the officers who were at the scene.
“There’s a lot of officers that were involved in either a call last night or this morning, which was two different groups of officers, that are very emotionally overwhelmed by this, and we’re trying to get them the support they need to get through that as well,” Carbajal said.
“For those that witnessed the scene, for those that saw the children, it’s something that’s going to stay with them for the rest of their lives,” the spokesman said.