Six children were found slain in their home, and police arrested their mother, a 24-year-old immigrant who had her first child at age 13 in an allegedly arranged marriage in her homeland.
Police went to the home in response to the woman's 911 call of a suicide in progress.The Saint Paul Pioneer Press cited an anonymous source as saying the children - three boys and three girls, ages 5 to 11 - were strangled, but police would not say how they died. Names of the victims were withheld pending notification of relatives.
"It simply is very, very tragic," Police Chief William Finney told WCCO Radio. "Police officers who arrive on the scene with something like that feel very, very frustrated and wondering what it is they could have done to avoid that terrible tragedy. In the final analysis, there is very little we could have done."
He acknowledged numerous police visits to the apartment on domestic violence calls before but said "there was nothing to indicate this level of tragedy."
He said police didn't know the motive, but "are satisfied with the fact that this is a case of domestic violence. We're tying to wrap up loose ends."
The mother, found lying outside the home, was taken into custody as a suspect and rushed to a hospital. A nursing supervisor would not give her condition early today, and police wouldn't say whether she had injured herself.
The father, who is estranged from his wife, was questioned by police but was not detained.
Neighbors said the couple married as teenagers in Laos in an arranged marriage and had been in the United States for about eight years.
Mai Xiong, a friend of the woman's new boyfriend, said the mother loved her children but regretted marrying so young and "was depressed over the amount of responsibility she had."