LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A 28-year-old woman has been charged with killing her three young children at an East Los Angeles home earlier this week.
Sandra Chico was arraigned Wednesday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on three counts each of murder and assault on a child causing death, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Chico is accused of killing 4-year-old Mia Rodriguez, 3-year-old Mason Rodriguez and 1-month-old Milan Rodriguez.
Prosecutors have filed three counts of murder and three counts of assault on a child against Chico.
In a statement, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon said, "In an instant, three innocent children were taken from us and we are crestfallen. Nothing is more heartbreaking than the tragic betrayal of a parent failing to protect their children."
Deputies were initially called out to the home in the 600 block of Ferris Avenue at about 12:45 p.m. Monday for reports of two children who had stopped breathing.
When deputies arrived, they found the three children unresponsive in a bedroom. They were pronounced dead at the scene. Chico was taken into custody for questioning.
Officials did not immediately disclose the children's cause of death.
In Spanish, the children's grandmother said Chico had been suffering from depression and never left the home. On Tuesday, neighbors dropped off flowers at a growing memorial.
"Sis, you're not alone. We are here for you," Chico's sister Elizabeth said Wednesday outside of the courthouse.
"It's the worst thing to see," she told CBSLA's Jeff Nguyen. Elizabeth was the one who found the children inside the room they shared with their mother.
Elizabeth said her sister had been struggling after a miscarriage she had before becoming pregnant with her third child.
"She was depressed. She suffered a lot. She needed help. We all told her, 'Go to the doctor, go to the doctor," Elizabeth said. "Her kids were her everything. She loved those kids."
So far investigators haven't released a cause of death.
According to Elizabeth, there were other adults inside the home when she made the deadly discovery. She ran over after receiving a call from her sister.
"You will get the help that you need no matter what," Elizabeth said.
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