A Los Angeles mother appeared in court on Wednesday for her charges for the murder of her three young children at the family’s home last month.
Sandra Chico, 28, was arrested on June 28 in connection with the deaths of her daughter and two sons, identified as Mia Camila Rodriguez, 4, and her brothers Mason Mateo Rodriguez, 3, and Milan Mateas Rodriguez, who was one month old.
Chico, dressed in an anti-suicide smock, appeared in the Los Angeles Supreme Court on Wednesday, while Judge Miguel Espinoza presided over the proceedings.
Chico, who appeared dazed and silent, did not plead three counts of murder and assault on a child that resulted in death. Her arraignment was continued until October.
East LA mother Sandra Chico, 28, was pictured in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday during her arraignment
Chico appeared dazed and wore an anti-suicide smock during the hearing
Chico is charged with murdering (left to right) daughter Mia Rodriguez, 4, and sons Mason Rodriguez, 3, and Milan Rodriguez, who was one month old
Judge Miguel Espinoza continued Chico’s arraignment until October
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office detectives did not say how Chico’s children died, but relatives told local news outlets that their mother suffocated them and then tried to kill herself.
The children were found in a bedroom in their home at 600 block of South Ferris Avenue around 12:45 a.m. on June 28, after a relative called for help, according to Lieutenant Commander Chuck Calderaro. They were not breathing and attempts to resuscitate them were unsuccessful.
Neighbors laid flowers in front of the house to remember the children. Arturo Cerezo, an uncle, arrived while Chico was being held.
“She would do anything for those children,” he told KNBC. “That’s so hard to understand. What happened?’
Several family members said that Chico was struggling with psychological problems.
Elizabeth Chico, Sandra’s younger sister, told… Los Angeles Times that the mother of three showed symptoms of postpartum depression after giving birth to baby Milan a month ago.
Chico, pictured on the left in court on Wednesday, and on the right with daughter Mia, did not plead
Neighbors pay tribute at makeshift monument honoring Chico’s children killed on June 29
However, Elizabeth stressed that despite struggling with stress and anxiety, Sandra adored her children and never expressed any intention of harming them.
“They were everything to her,” she said. “Those kids were her world.”
The children’s paternal grandmother, Rosalba Flores Castillo, said in Spanish that Chico was unwell and never left the house.
“I won’t criticize her,” she said. ‘I wish her the best. She is also a victim of her illness, namely depression.’
Multiple family members asked the public to pass judgment on Chico’s actions.
‘I get messages from many people that they are condemning my sister-in-law. They tell her she was a bad mother,” Cerezo, the children’s uncle, told ABC7. ‘But all I ask is not to judge. I know it’s hard, but don’t judge.’
Authorities said there was nothing to indicate that there were any problems in the family.
A relative called 911 for help after they found the children in this 600-block Ferris Avenue home on June 28.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Officers Pictured at the Scene of the Child Murders
Neighbors hug outside Chico’s home in East Los Angeles after her arrest
“There was no advance warning,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “No repeated calls for help… no allegations of child abuse. These were downright tragedies.’
Neighbor Victor Ohm told FOX 11 he previously saw the kids playing in the yard when he went out to run errands.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Ohm told the TV station. “They were happy children.”
Chico’s family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the children’s funerals.