The mother of three children found dead in Reseda has been described by police as the “sole suspect” after their bodies were discovered inside an apartment Saturday morning, authorities said.
Liliana Carrillo, 30, was taken into custody in the Ponderosa area of Tulare County about five hours after officers found the children, who were ages 3, 2 and 6 months, according to police. Officers responded to the 8000 block of Reseda Boulevard about a possible death at 9:30 a.m., police said.
All three victims appear to be under the age of 5, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a tweet.
LAPD Lt. Raul Jovel told the Associated Press Carrillo was gone when the children’s grandmother came home from work and found their bodies in the apartment.
Around noon, Officer Rosario Cervantes told KTLA the children had been fatally stabbed. However, LAPD later issued a news release stating a cause of death and motive had yet to be determined.
The department announced a search for Carrillo just after 1 p.m., releasing her photo and initially describing her as a person of interest. About an hour and a half later, police said she was taken into custody in an area of Tulare County about 200 miles north of the crime scene. She allegedly committed a carjacking in the Bakersfield area while remaining at large.
Sheriff Mike Boudreaux of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said a local resident had stopped to assist Carillo after she was involved in an accident on Highway 65.
“As he exits his vehicle to assist in what appears to be a single-vehicle accident, he is confronted basically by the suspect in the Los Angeles slayings,” Boudreaux said.
Police have said detectives are still working to determine a possible motive behind the tragic crime.
The father of the children, Erik Denton, told KTLA that he shared custody of the children with Carillo. He identified the children as 3-year-old Terry, 2-year-old Joanna and 6-month-old Sierra.
On Saturday evening, there was a growing memorial outside the apartment complex where the children were found dead. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the grieving family.
“These are the moments we carry throughout our career,” LAPD Lt. Raul Joel said at the scene, the Los Angeles Times reported. “It’s hard to process that as a police officer.”
“These are the incidents that really impact you as a police officer,” Joel told reporters during a news conference, explaining behavioral therapy services would be provided to officers involved.
Anyone with information is urged by LAPD to call 213-486-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.