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Posted: July 6, 2017 12:10 p.m.

UPDATE: Mom charged in kids' deaths in country illegally

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Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance Friday, July 7, 2017, in Lawrenceville Martinez is charged with killing four of her children and their father. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the deaths of a man and four children outside Atlanta (all times local):
12:10 p.m.

Immigration authorities say a woman charged with killing four of her young children and their father is in the country illegally.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said in an email Friday that Maria Isabel Garduno-Martinez, whom local law enforcement identified as Isabel Martinez, is from Mexico and entered the U.S. illegally.

Martinez faces five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault.
Police said a fifth child, a 9-year-old girl, survived with serious injuries.

Police said Martinez called 911 to report the killings from the home the family shared outside Atlanta.

Immigration authorities have placed a hold on Martinez. Cox said this is her first encounter with immigration authorities, and it's not clear how long Martinez has been in the U.S.

 

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UPDATE, 9:30 a.m.,: A Georgia woman charged with killing four of her young children and their father told a judge she doesn't want an attorney, saying her attorney is the people and her faith.

Isabel Martinez faces five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault, hours after police said she called 911 to report the killings from the home the family shared outside Atlanta.
Police said a fifth child, a 9-year-old girl, survived with serious injuries.

Gwinnett County Magistrate Court Judge Michael Thorpe strongly advised the 33-year-old mother Friday to hire an attorney or to allow one to be appointed for her.

Thorpe told Martinez she will have a preliminary hearing on July 20.

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UPDATE, 9:15 a.m.: A woman charged with killing four of her young children and their father wagged her finger at a judge as he read the charges against her, prompting the judge to rebuke her about her behavior.

Isabel Martinez is charged with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault, hours after police said she called 911 to report the killings from the home the family shared outside Atlanta.
Police said a fifth child, a girl, survived with serious injuries.

At her first appearance Friday morning, the 33-year-old mother smiled, gave a "thumbs up" sign and posed for news cameras as she waited for the hearing with other inmates.

Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Michael Thorpe advised her to stop performing for the cameras.

 

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UPDATE, 9 a.m.:

A woman charged with killing four of her young children and their father smiled and posed for cameras, giving a double "thumbs up" sign to news cameras as she awaited her first court hearing.

Authorities in Georgia charged 33-year-old Isabel Martinez on Thursday afternoon with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault, hours after police said she called 911 to report the killings from the home the family shared outside Atlanta.

Police said a fifth child, a girl, survived but remained hospitalized with injuries described as serious.

Psychologists and others who study cases of mothers accused of killing their children say it's not as uncommon as people might believe.

Her first hearing in the case was set for Friday morning at Gwinnett County's detention center.

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UPDATE, 4:15 a.m.: A woman charged with killing four of her young children and their father is due in court, one day after police say she stabbed the five to death and seriously injured another child at a home outside Atlanta.

Authorities in Georgia charged 33-year-old Isabel Martinez on Thursday afternoon with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault, hours after police said she called 911 to report the killings from the home the family shared. She faces a hearing Friday.

Police said a fifth child, a girl, survived but remained hospitalized with injuries described as serious.

Psychologists and others who study cases of mothers accused of killing their children say it's not as uncommon as people might believe.

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LOGANVILLE, Ga. (AP) — 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 (48 kilometers) 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."

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

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