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Story highlights

Four young children and their father were stabbed to death, police say

A fifth child, a girl, found with injuries; mother is being questioned

CNN —  

A suburban Atlanta mother was arrested Thursday in the stabbing death of her four children and their father, officials said.

Isabel Martinez, 33, is charged with six counts of aggravated assault and five counts each of murder and malice murder, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office said. The 33-year-old is being held without bond at the Gwinnett County Jail for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, authorities said.

A fifth child was found with injuries, officials said. As of Thursday, that girl was in serious, but stable condition at a children’s hospital in Atlanta, Gwinnett County police said.

Isabel Martinez is charged with aggravated assault, murder and malice murder in the fatal stabbings.
Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Isabel Martinez is charged with aggravated assault, murder and malice murder in the fatal stabbings.

The children and their father were discovered shortly before 5 a.m. at a home near Loganville, Georgia, about 30 miles east of Atlanta. The youngest of the children was 2 years old and the oldest 10, police said.

The male victim was identified as 33-year-old Martin Romero.

Police said they won’t discuss the suspect’s motive.

“This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighborhood and community,” police said. “We are hoping and praying that the remaining victim survives.”

Investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence and were interviewing neighbors.

A relative of the family, who asked not to be identified, told CNN the family had recently returned from a vacation and the mother had been depressed over the death of her father.

Neighbor Rafael Ramirez said the mother had been “acting bizarre” and experiencing hallucinations since the death of her father about 20 days ago. She apparently had spoken to a pastor at a local church on Thursday morning, according to Ramirez. The family has lived in the quiet community for three or four months, according to neighbor Jim Hollandsworth, who works at an after-school program the children attended.

The family has relatives in the area, the neighbor said.

CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Phil Gast, Nick Valencia, Shawn Nottingham, Marylynn Ryan, Darran Simon, Jamiel Lynch and Keith Allen contributed to this report.