Tenia Campbell is charged with murder after officers found her toddlers unresponsive and in cardiac arrest inside her minivan
A Long Island, New York, mother threatening to take her own life and kill her 2-year-old twin daughters has been charged with murdering the girls, say police.
On Thursday, police in East Hampton Township responded to a 911 call about a 24-year-old woman, Tenia Campbell, of Medford, New York.
Police began searching for Campbell in Medford at about 2:30 p.m. when her mother called 911 to report that she thought her daughter was going to end her life – as well as the lives of her daughters, Jaida and Jasmine, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said at a press conference Friday.
She said police then began a three-way call with Campbell and her mother. “Tenia, who was at times hysterical, would not reveal her whereabouts,” said Hart.
Campbell indicated that the twins were already dead, Hart said, WABC-TV reports.
After a massive search, Suffolk County police found Campbell and her daughters parked in her minivan more than 60 miles away at the entrance of Montauk County Park in Montauk, Patch.com reports.
The officers found the toddlers unresponsive and in cardiac arrest inside the minivan and performed CPR on them to no avail, Hart said. The twins were rushed to a nearby hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Before her arrest, Campbell had screamed for police officers to shoot her, said Hart.
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Campbell was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
She is being held at the East Hampton Town Police Headquarters and is set to be arraigned on Friday, Newsday reports. She has not yet entered a plea.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of the children’s deaths. Police are investigating why Campbell allegedly killed her twins. Her 4-year-old son is in his father’s custody.
It is unclear whether Campbell has retained an attorney who can speak on her behalf.
“These cases are never easy,” Hart said at the press conference. “We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Jasmine and Jaida.”
A home health aide, Campbell was “an amazing mother,” neighbor Akira Anderson told Newsday.
Her daughters were always “running around, smiling,” Anderson said.
She said she saw Campbell on Wednesday and that she seemed “fine” and was shocked when police told her about the children’s deaths.
Campbell didn’t seem like she was having personal problems, Anderson told Newsday. “If she did, she handled it.”
“I didn’t believe it,” she told Newsday. “Wrong person. Not her.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.