HUDSON OAKS, Texas – A relative found the bodies of a 23-year-old woman and her four small daughters hanging in a closet in their mobile home Tuesday morning, all of them dead but an 8-month-old, who was taken to a hospital, the sheriff said. The other children, ages 5, 3 and 2, had all had been hanged with strips of clothing and sashes, Fowler said.
Neighbors in the rural community of 1,600 were stunned. Less than five years earlier, another Hudson Oaks family was torn apart when Dee Etta Perez, 39, shot her three children, ages 4, 9 and 10, before killing herself.
Fowler said the hangings Tuesday also appeared to be murder-suicide because the trailer’s doors were locked from the inside and a relative said the woman had been depressed, but he said the investigation was still under way. Texas has seen a disturbing number of child killings by mothers in recent years.
Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the family’s Houston bathtub in 2001. In 2003, Deanna Laney beat her two young sons to death with stones in East Texas, and Lisa Ann Diaz drowned her daughters in a Plano bathtub. Dena Schlosser fatally severed her 10-month-old daughter’s arms with a kitchen knife in 2004.
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