PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix mother is suspected of stabbing her three young sons to death and stuffing their partially dismembered bodies in a closet before trying to kill herself at their home, police said Thursday.
Neighbors had often seen the older boys riding their bikes outside the townhome along a winding one-way street in central Phoenix.
Now the 29-year-old mother is in the hospital in critical condition with self-inflicted stab wounds and her sons Jaikare Rahaman, 8, Jeremiah Adams, 5, and Avery Robinson, 2 months old, are dead, Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said.
Phoenix police will not release the name of the suspect until she is charged, Crump said Thursday afternoon.
Late Wednesday night the suspect's brother came home from work to find his sister in the garage. She talked about God and said she'd found the answer to life — something she'd only recently started talking about.
The pair conversed, and then the woman went inside and locked the door behind her. After making several calls, the brother forced his way inside, but his sister had already barricaded herself in another room.
It's unclear how much time passed, but the woman emerged covered in blood with stab wounds across her abdomen and neck, Crump said.
She told her brother she'd done it because she was pregnant — though police have not confirmed if that's true, Crump said.
While the brother grabbed towels for her bleeding, she tried to drown herself in a bathtub, he said.
That's when the brother called the police.
Officers arrived around 2 a.m., but they didn't immediately discover the boys' bodies because the mother lied and told officers her kids were left with a caretaker.
It was only after she was sent to the hospital and police began searching the house that they found the older boys inside a closet crammed full of miscellaneous items.
Detectives later discovered the youngest child inside a suitcase stuffed deeper inside the closet.
The children appeared to have been stabbed to death and "parts of their bodies were dismembered," Crump said.
The boys were killed sometime during a several-hour period after the woman's mother left for work Wednesday evening and her brother returned home from work before midnight, he said.
Neighbors, police and bystanders were stunned by the details.
It was "an absolutely horrific scene for the officers and the brother," Crump said. "Nobody wants to see this happen to a child, nobody."
Next-door neighbor Shelley Severns said her children played with the older boys, whom she called "cute little things."
"I'm still processing all of this. It's very tragic because you don't know why this happens," Severns said.
Neighbor Lynn Roberson said the older boys had just learned to ride their bikes a few months ago. First with training wheels, then a week later, without them.
"I would always encourage them to keep practicing," she said, holding a cup of coffee with both hands, standing only a few feet from the police tape.
"There were no red flags," Roberson said.
The mother is expected to survive.