Mother kills three of her young children, shocking small California community: Police – Crime Online

A mother is accused of killing her three young children and attempting to kill herself in a small farming community in California, KMPH-TV reports.

Police say Patricia Ortiz, 31, killed her 8-year-old daughter, Anna Ortiz Lara, and the girl’s two younger siblings, Matteo Ortiz Lara, 5, and Alexa Ortiz Lara, 3.

Ortiz’s husband, who is the father of the children, discovered the bodies in the family’s apartment on Wednesday. Law enforcement began receiving reports of a man screaming for help shortly after 2 p.m. Deputies who responded discovered what they described as one of the most gruesome scenes of their careers, said Merced County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Daryl Allen.

Doctors took the mother to the hospital and later incarcerated her in Merced County Jail on three counts of murder.

Authorities have not revealed how the children died or publicly identified a potential motive. The mother was cooperative and spoke with investigators, according to KFSN-TV.

The murders took place in a rural area known as Le Grand, located in California’s Central Valley between Sacramento and Fresno.

Allen said at a press conference Wednesday that the deaths have hit the community hard.

“Le Grand is a tight-knit community, I want to call it a family. I come from this region and from a small town of 16,000 inhabitants, you know that this is something that is going to be very, very difficult for the community. Everybody knows everybody here,” Allen told reporters, according to KMPH-TV.

As news of the deaths spread, locals came to the scene to pay their respects and contribute to a memorial of flowers, candles and toys.

A family friend told KFSN-TV that the three children are loving souls. The eldest, Anna, sang in church and was very nice. Matteo was often protective of his sisters and loved to gamble. Alexa regularly beamed with a happy smile.

The two older children were in class on Wednesday at Le Grand Union Primary School, which is a short distance from the apartment.

School district officials released a statement that the deaths have traumatized the community. “It is heartbreaking to lose a student under any circumstances. We have bereavement counselors on campus to support students, staff and parents as needed. The Grand is a strong and resilient community, and we will work together to manage this tragedy,” the statement read, according to KFSN-TV.

A GoFundMe account titled “Ortiz Angels” was created to help pay for funeral expenses. By Saturday morning, over $37,000 had been raised.

“Heaven won three beautiful angels on January 12. How to express the pain of the loss of these three beautiful children,” reads the GoFundMe page.

“Anna Daniela, Matteo and Alexa were happy, full of life and loved by all who knew them. Our only consolation is knowing that we are at peace in the presence of the Lord.

If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. To learn more about risk factors and warning signs of suicide, visit https://afsp.org/risk-factors-and-warning-signs.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” podcast.

[Feature Photo: GoFundMe]

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