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The agency charged with protecting children from abusive homes in Los Angeles County has declined to comment on a case Wednesday in which a mother allegedly brutally stabbed to death her three children.
In a statement to Fox News, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the largest child protective services agency in the nation, said state law prohibits it from commenting on whether a child or family has been involved with the department.
Liliana Carrillo, 30, has been identified by the Los Angeles Police Department as the sole suspect in the stabbing deaths of her three children — Joanna, 3, Terry, 2, and six-month-old Sierra — on Saturday. The childrens’ grandmother discovered the bodies when she returned to a home in Los Angeles’ Reseda neighborhood.
Police arrested Liliana Carrillo, 30, in relation to the stabbing deaths of three children younger than four years old in Los Angeles Saturday morning.
The children’s father, Erik Denton, petitioned a court for custody on March 1, alleging Carrillo was delusional and had taken the kids and refused to tell him where they were. In response, she filed a restraining order against him and claimed he may have sexually abused the eldest child.
Authorities and social workers were called as the case made its way through the courts. Last Sunday was supposed to be just his second visit with the kids under the new schedule.
“I am afraid for my children’s physical and mental well-being,” Denton wrote in court papers.
The DCFS statement said it could not comment on its role but mourned the loss of the children.
“The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services joins the community in mourning the loss of the three children in Reseda,” a DCFS statement to Fox News reads. “State law protects the confidentiality of records for all children and families who may have come to the attention of child protective services, and prohibits confirming or commenting on whether a child or family has been involved with the department.”
It added that the laws are in place to protect the privacy of children, siblings and families as they attempt to resolve disputes.
Candles and crosses are placed as a memorial for three children who were killed at the Royal Villa apartments complex in the Reseda section of Los Angeles.
Denton’s court filings tell of Carrillo’s post-partum depression following the birth of their middle child. She began therapy but quit. She self-medicated with marijuana, he claimed. In texts and social media posts, she said things like “I wish I never had kids” and threatened to kill herself.
Carrillo also believed she was “solely responsible” for the coronavirus pandemic, Denton wrote, and she thought that Porterville, the Tulare County city where he, Carrillo and the children had lived, was home to a “giant sex trafficking ring.”
In late February, her behavior worsened, court documents show. During an outing at the park, their oldest daughter had fallen and landed on her groin area and later said it hurt. Carrillo believed the pain was from Denton molesting her, a claim he denied. He said she was checked by a doctor who found no evidence of abuse; Carrillo said the examination wasn’t thorough enough.
At one point, she allegedly threatened to take the kids to Mexico, where she has family.
DCFS has been criticized in recent years for its alleged failure to protect children from abusive homes. Four child protective workers were initially charged with child abuse and falsifying records related to the 2013 death of Gabriel Fernandez, 8, who died after being tortured and beaten by his mother and her boyfriend.
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The mother, Pearl Fernandez, recently petitioned to have her conviction tossed out. The boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, has been sentenced to death. The case was featured in the six-part Netflix documentary: “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez.”
The charges against the social workers were eventually dropped.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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