TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Two children were found dead Saturday morning in a suburban Phoenix apartment after a woman flagged down a police officer and said she was hearing voices telling her to kill her children, police said.
Officers went to her apartment and found a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy dead with “obvious signs of physical trauma," Tempe Police spokesman Sgt. Steven Carbajal said.
The mother who flagged down a Tempe officer about 7 a.m. near a police station is Yui Inoue, 40, Carbajal said in a statement. Inoue was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, he said. No other identities have been released.
Police said they had been called to the same apartment earlier Saturday morning because of a domestic dispute involving a husband and wife. Carbajal said the couple was separated, and no one was arrested. The children were safe in bed at the time, and there was no apparent reason to call child welfare authorities.
“It didn’t seem like there was an immediate threat to the children,” he said. “Parents, couples, argue and they have disagreements, and they have issues that come up” that often don't require that type of intervention.
Carbajal said officers were doing that they would to support the father.
Carbajal called it a “tragic incident."
“It’s just so unfortunate that a 9- and 7 year old that rely on their parents, especially their mother, to really care after them could have been involved in something this tragic,” Carbajal said in an interview.
The officers who found the children were also receiving counseling.
“A lot of the officers on that call have children, and even the ones that don't, we see a lot of tragedy over the course of our career. But you can't prepare yourself for something like that,” Carbajal said. “The aftermath is really one of the hardest things to deal with.”
The officers who discovered the dead children were not the same ones who were at the apartment just after midnight on the domestic dispute call. The father was not at the apartment when officers returned to find the children.