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Mother charged with murder in deaths of three children in East L.A.

Neighbors embrace in front of an area with police cars and crime scene tape
Neighbors embrace outside a home on South Ferris Avenue in East L.A., where three children were found dead Monday.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

An East L.A. woman has been charged with murder in the deaths of her three children, who were found inside the family’s home earlier this week, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Sandra Chico, 28, faces three counts of murder and assault on a child causing death, according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

“In an instant, three innocent children were taken from us, and we are crestfallen,” L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a statement. “Nothing is more heartbreaking than the tragic betrayal of a parent failing to protect their children.”

Chico was expected to appear in a downtown courtroom Wednesday afternoon, though it was not immediately clear who her attorney was.

Someone called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department East L.A. station around 12:45 p.m. Monday to report that two children were not breathing inside a home in the 600 block of South Ferris Avenue. Responding deputies found three children unresponsive in a bedroom. Despite lifesaving efforts, the children — 3-year-old Mia, 2-year-old Mason and 1-month-old Milan — were all pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

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Autopsy results are still pending, and officials have yet to comment on a cause of death. But a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told The Times that each child showed signs of strangulation or suffocation. The official requested anonymity in order to discuss the case candidly.

Chico had begun to show signs of postpartum depression after her youngest child was born earlier this year, according to her older sister, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Chico said her sister adored her children and had no history of abusing them. The Sheriff’s Department said it did not appear there were any reports of child abuse or neglect associated with Sandra Chico or the home where the children were found.

Times staff writer Matthew Ormseth contributed to this report.


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