Phoenix Police: 3 Children Found Dead, Mother Arrested

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 11:37am
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 10:47am
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Rachel Henry

A Phoenix woman has been arrested on suspicion of killing her three children, who were found dead inside the family home, authorities said Tuesday.

The 22-year-old mother, who police identified on Tuesday morning as Rachel Henry, “has admitted to harming her three children, which caused their demise,” Sgt. Mercedes Fortune told reporters outside the home.

Henry told investigators that she suffocated her son and two daughters with her hands, police said in court records.

Investigators say Rachel Henry told them that she thwarted an attempt by her 3-year-old son to protect his 1-year-old sister. The boy kicked and punched his mother and yelled for her to stop, but Henry chased him away, according to court records.

The records, released after the mother made her first court appearance Tuesday, said Henry acknowledged a methamphetamine addiction. It’s unknown whether Henry, who is jailed on a $3 million bond on first-degree murder charges, has been appointed an attorney who can comment on her behalf.

The home is in a sparsely developed working class neighborhood of southern Phoenix. The area is mostly made up of small older wooden houses and mobile homes. There is also a white Spanish-style church nearby. But there is some new construction, with a housing development of single-family homes priced at more than $500,000.

A relative who lives at the residence called police late Monday. Responding officers found a 7-month-old girl, 2-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy in a living room area, authorities said. The children were pronounced dead after officers administered CPR and fire officials provided first aid.

Police were still interviewing the 30-year-old father and a 49-year-old relative who lives in the home, according to authorities. There was no obvious trauma to the children, and relatives indicated illness may have been a factor, police said.

They said the family had recently moved to the area from Oklahoma.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety didn't have any earlier contacts or abuse reports involving the family, spokesman Darren DaRonco said.

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