A woman arrested in connection with the murder of her three children at her home in the San Fernando Valley was involved in a tense custody battle, according to the father and the children’s court documents.
Liliana Carrillo, 30, was arrested Saturday in Tulare County after escaping the scene and following senior police officers on a long-distance hunt that allegedly robbed a pickup truck in Bakersfield.
The children’s grandmother earlier called the police after discovering the children aged 3, 2 and 6 months dead in their Reseda apartment complex and their mother gone, authorities said. Initial reports showed the children had been stabbed, but authorities have not confirmed the cause of death.
Erik Denton, the father of the children – two girls and a boy – filed for custody of them on March 1, according to the Tulare County Family Court’s online filings.
Denton petitioned the Porterville Family Court on March 4 for a temporary emergency visit order and requested a mental health assessment for Carrillo, according to court documents. Orders were drawn up at a hearing on March 26th. Another hearing on the case was scheduled for April 14th.
In response, Carrillo petitioned the Los Angeles County Supreme Court on March 12 for an injunction against Denton against domestic violence.
In a brief interview with the Los Angeles Times, Denton confirmed he was the father of the three children and said he was in a custody battle with Carrillo after she became mentally unstable.
Denton said he tried to get local authorities to intervene, but “in LA they are not helping. The LAPD would not interfere. “He said Carrillo should hand over the children to him on Sunday.
He said she might have gone to Tulare County to look for him, but he was not home at the time. He said the police came later to tell him what happened.
At the crime scene in Reseda on Saturday, LAPD Lt. Raul Joel, there have been no previous calls to the police at the Carrillo residence.
“These are the moments we wear in our careers,” said Joel, noting that innocent lives had been lost. “It’s hard to deal with as a cop.”
Elizabeth Cuevas, who lives in an apartment above the apartment where the murders took place, said she knew the grandmother as a chance acquaintance. Cuevas said she would see them sometimes when she was walking her dogs.
Cuevas met one of the children, a “cute little girl” around three years old, who asked if she could pet her Chihuahua mix.
“She was a perfect little angel,” she said. “She was valuable, which one cannot imagine.”
The crime doesn’t make sense to them. She said the children seemed very loved.
“They were beautiful,” she said.
The little girl spoke softly, but not overly shy or afraid, she said.
“An angel shouldn’t have to go this way,” said Cuevas.
She never heard shouting from the apartment, just the sounds of cartoons that she said could be heard at all times, sometimes until 10 p.m. She also never saw the police respond to the unit until Saturday.
“Somebody caught there and they caught in the wrong direction,” she said.
Cuevas said she couldn’t shake the memory of the polite little girl who wanted to pet her dog.
“I will process this for some time,” she said.
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