LE GRAND, Calif. (KSEE) – We now know the identities of the three children that were found dead at an apartment complex in Merced County.
Authorities say 31-year-old Patricia Ortiz from Le Grand, is suspected of killing her three children, 8-year-old Anna Ortiz Lara, 5-year-old Matteo Ortiz Lara, and 3-year-old Alexa Ortiz Lara.
Around 2:10 p.m. Wednesday, deputies were sent to the 13000 block of Brice Street for a welfare check. Once inside, they found the three children dead and Ortiz suffering from what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds.
Authorities are now calling the incident a murder and attempted suicide.
Ortiz was booked into the Merced County jail for three counts of murder.
Police say she is cooperating with the investigation and the motive is still unknown.
Toys, candles, and flowers are all that sit outside one of the apartment units at the Le Grand apartments.
“It is very devastating to the town, the schools, and everything just being a small area it’s hitting the area pretty hard,” says Daryl Allen, with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
Neighbors say they’re still in shock by what happened, and it will leave a long-lasting mark on the community.
Elias Vargas was at home when he says he heard a man frantically going up and down the street saying his kids were murdered.
“He came right here by the school behind me and that’s when I heard the yelling and I went outside and a couple of us were curious to see what was going on and then he said, “my kids were murdered” and that’s when we realized something had happened,” says Vargas.
Authorities say the cause of death for the three children is still being investigated.
The superintendent of Le Grand elementary school district put out a statement that read:
Our school community is heartbroken by this tragedy, and we grieve for this enormous loss.
Family members have set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs.
Authorities identify three children found dead in Merced County apartment