The Merced County Sheriff’s Office identified the children killed in Le Grand, California Thursday.
Officials said Patricia Ortiz, 31, killed her three children, 8-year-old Anna Ortiz Lara, 5-year-old Matteo Ortiz Lara and 3-year-old Alexa Ortiz Lara.
The young victims were found dead inside an apartment. Deputies rushed to the scene just after 2 p.m.
“Apparently, there was a gentleman that was screaming for help,” Daryl Allen, with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC Fresno affiliate KFSNWednesday evening.
Elias Vargas said he was home when he heard the man screaming then saw him walking back and forth between the complex and Le Grand Elementary, which is just feet away.
“He said, ‘My kids were killed!’ so that’s when I realized something serious happened there at the house,” Vargas said.
Maria Elena lives next-door to the apartment where the children were found. She said she heard adults arguing from time to time in past, but nothing unusual or concerning recently.
Now, neighbors are waiting for answers about how this unthinkable tragedy could have happened in their quiet, small town.
“I’ll just call it a family,” Allen said. “Le Grand is more of a family. Everybody in this town knows everybody. It’s definitely going to hurt a lot of people.”
Officials said the woman was taken to a hospital for treatment. The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said she’ll later be taken to the county jail and held on murder charges.
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