Three young children found dead at California home; mother detained

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VICTIMS: Mia Camila Rodriguez, 4-year-old girl, Milan Mateas Rodriguez, 1-month-old boy, Mason Mateo Rodriguez, 3-year-old boy. | Photo source: Facebook

Detectives detained a woman as a “person of interest” after her three young children were found dead Monday inside a home in the Belvedere Gardens community of East Los Angeles.

Authorities were called to a report of children who were not breathing at a residence on the 600 block of Ferris Avenue at about 12:45 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokeswoman Eva Jimenez said. Paramedics were summoned, but the two boys and one girl found in a bedroom were pronounced dead at the scene.

One of the boys was only 6 months old, Jimenez said, while the other two children were younger than 3 years old.

Details about what led up to their deaths were not immediately released.

A 28-year-old woman described as the children’s mother was detained by investigators Monday afternoon, Jimenez said. Her identity was not made public. Sheriff’s officials declined to discuss her mental state Monday evening.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was looking into the matter as a suspicious death investigation as of Monday evening. Officials asked anyone with information that might help detectives to call the department’s homicide bureau.

In a statement Monday afternoon, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis called the incident a “horrifying situation,” and said her office is working with sheriff’s officials and the Department of Children and Family Services to “launch a full investigation” into the deaths.

ARRESTED: Sandra Chico was initially detained as a “person of interest” after the grim discovery was made about 12:45 p.m. Monday in the 600 block of South Ferris Avenue. | Photo source: Facebook

The county was also providing counseling to relatives and neighbors of the victims, as well as first-responders “who were on-site and witnessed this travesty,” Solis said.

By 7 p.m., yellow tape blocked off a portion of the street as a handful of detectives continued searching for evidence in a beige house lined with a black fence at 630 South Ferris Avenue. They also were seen interviewing potential witnesses on the steps of a nearby church, Primera Iglesia Bautista.

A steady stream of people from the neighborhood passed by the home. Most of them were silent as they walked in small groups along the edge of an area taped off by deputies. A few stopped to leave bouquets of flowers before continuing on their way.

Neighbors observing the scene said that they had not ever noticed fighting, loud noises, prior visits from law enforcement or other possible signs of domestic violence at the home. Some recalled watching children laugh as they jumped up and down on a trampoline in their front yard.

The deaths come more than two months after another case in Southern California involving the killings of three children. That case, in Reseda in April, led to the arrest of the children’s mother, 30-year-old Liliana Carillo, on suspicion of homicide.

Relatives and friends said she appeared to be suffering from depression, and was involved in a custody dispute at the time of their deaths. She later reportedly confessed to killing 3-year-old Joanna, 2-year-old Terry and 6-month old Sierra during a recorded interview while in custody in Tulare county for an unrelated offense.

ERIC LICAS | CONTRIBUTED

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