Mother charged with killing 4 of her kids and their father

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A mother has been arrested after her four young children and their father were found slain in a home outside Atlanta early on Thursday. A fifth child survived and is in critical condition in hospital.

The bodies were discovered when police responded to a 911 call that came in at 4:47 a.m from an adult woman present in the home - believed to be their mother.

Police said she was speaking Spanish, which initially made it difficult for 911 operators to communicate with her. All five victims were found to have been stabbed to death inside the home in Loganville, Georgia, US. Their mother, 33-year-old Isabel Martinez, was detained then charged with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault.

Gwinnett County police Cpl. Michele Pihera told reporters at the scene: "She was quickly taken into custody and right now she's at Gwinnett County Police Headquarters being interviewed."

Police said she was cooperating with investigators. They did not release the motive for the slayings but Pihera assured the community that everyone believed to be involved in the crime is in custody and they did not have to fear that a dangerous person is on the loose.

The fifth child who survived is 9-year-old Diana Romero. As at Thursday evening, she was in serious but stable condition. The four children killed have been identified as Isabela Martinez, 10; Dacota Romero, 7; Dillan Romero, 4; and Axel Romero, 2. Their slain father was Martin Romero, 33.

Neighbours in the small, largely Hispanic neighbourhood said they had no clue anything was amiss in the home until police arrived. The neighbours said the Spanish-speaking family had moved to the community recently and their children seemed happy playing with other neighbourhood kids. It was revealed that the children's mother had recently suffered the death of her father.

Cheryl Meyer, a professor of psychology at Wright State University in Ohio said cases of mothers who kill their children are frequent but under-reported. Mental health issues, postpartum depression, or the loss of a close loved one are some factors she gave that drive mothers to kill their children.

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