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4 kids, father found slain in Georgia stabbing; police say mother is suspect

A woman believed to be the mother of the children was taken into custody, according to officials. (July 6, 2017)

Four young children and their father were found slain in a home outside Atlanta early Thursday, and police say the mother — a suspect in the case — was the one who called 911 to report the killings.

The five were apparently stabbed to death. A fifth child, a girl, survived and was hospitalized with injuries described as serious, police said.

The woman was detained by police after the bodies were found inside the home in Loganville, Gwinnett County police Cpl. Michele Pihera told reporters at the scene. Police later issued a statement calling the mother a "suspect" in the deaths, although no charges have been filed.

"She was quickly taken into custody and right now she’s at Gwinnett County Police Headquarters being interviewed," Pihera said. Police have not said whether she was injured.

"Right now we believe we have everybody involved in this crime," Pihera said, adding that she does not want people in the community to think that a dangerous person is at large.

Pihera told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the mother was speaking Spanish in the 911 call, which initially made it difficult for operators to communicate with her.

Early indications are that a knife was used to attack the five, though a medical examiner will make the final determination about the cause of death, she said.

The hospitalized girl was still alive late Thursday morning, police said in a brief update on the case.

The four children killed appear to be under age 10, Pihera said. Their slain father was in his mid-30s, she said.

Police initially said in a statement that a woman inside the home called police at 4:47 a.m. Thursday to report a stabbing and officers answering the call found the five bodies inside.

Police said a motive wasn’t immediately known.

Outside the single-story home with white paneling and black shutters, neighbors sat in their front yards. Crime scene tape surrounded the home and parts of the yard in the Loganville area, about 30 miles east of Atlanta.

Some neighbors in the small, largely Hispanic neighborhood said they had no clue anything was amiss in the home until police mobbed the scene Thursday morning. The neighbors said the Spanish-speaking family had moved to the community recently, and their children seemed happy playing with other neighborhood kids.

Victoria Nievs said the children’s mother had recently suffered the death of her father.

Jim Hollandsworth is spokesman at The Path Project, a nonprofit organization that runs an after-school program that the family’s children participated in. He said the family had been in the community for a few months. While the children spoke English as a second language, he said, they were fluent.

"It’s awful. It’s devastating. Everyone is in complete shock," he said. "The kids were engaged in what we’re doing. They were happy. They were fantastic kids with a bright future."

Associated Press writer Jeff Martin in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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