The apparent murder-suicide occurred Wednesday, but a motive for the violence is unknown

By Chris Harris
February 06, 2020 02:48 PM

A mom and her two children were stabbed to death in their Carneys Point, New Jersey, home Wednesday by the woman’s husband, who was found dead in the woods after killing himself.

A statement from the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office, obtained by PEOPLE, identifies the victims as Ruth Reyes Severino, Eurianny Severino and Eury Severino. Family members had previously identified them to, saying the mom was 30 and her children were 5 and 2.

The prosecutor’s statement says the cause of death for the husband, Eugenio Severino, was suicide by hanging.

The mother moved with her children two New Jersey two years ago, reports. It is not known at this time how the three were killed or what may have motivated the murders.

A previous statement from the prosecutor’s office indicates that police first discovered the body of a man in the woods near the apartment before going to the apartment and finding the mom and her children dead. Relatives have identified the man as Reyes’ 54-year-old husband, Eugenio Severino. reports that Reyes had a protective order against Severino — issued weeks ago after she kicked him out of their apartment because he’d threatened to kill her.

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Elibeth Ortiz, who knows the family, said Reyes was an great mother who had recently discussed the troubles in her marriage.

“Lately, she had told me she was having problems with her husband,” Ortiz told “She had to kick him out. He was a little too possessive. I think at one point he had called her and had threatened to kill her. She ended up having to get a restraining order.”

“It’s sad,” Ortiz continued. “I still can’t believe it. I’m in shock. It’s sad that it went down like this. She was a great mom. She made sure her kids always had what they need. She always had them with her.”