Florida mother charged with strangling two sons, drowning daughter

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A mother in Florida strangled her two young boys and drowned her little girl, police said Monday.

Jessica Lacey McCarty will be charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of 5-month-old Christopher Swist, her 7-year-old daughter Laci McCarty, and her 6-year-old son Philip McCarty, Palm Bay police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said in an email.

Laci and Philip died Friday night, the same day of the attack, police said. Christopher died Sunday night, they said.

Jessica Lacey McCarty, 33, tried to strangle Christopher and Philip and drown 7-year-old Laci, Florida Today quotes Palm Bay Police Chief Mark Renkens as saying Monday. Laci and Philip died Friday night after being taken to the hospital.

Immediately after the attacks Friday, police had said they found the mother in the front yard carrying a knife before locating her three children, all of whom had been cut and were unresponsive. On Monday, however, police said there was no indication the children had been stabbed.

Jessica McCarty chose to remain in custody under a special medical watch when she appeared in court Sunday.

According to the arrest warrant, prior to calling police, Jessica McCarty texted photographs showing blood throughout her home to Christopher’s father, Chris, who also called police and then went to the home.

Police said they found an open journal belonging to Jessica McCarty on the dashboard of a car in her driveway. In it was a note that said, “To my family,” and which she expressed remorse for her actions. Another page was addressed to Christopher’s father, asking him to keep the child’s name alive.

Police photos of Laci McCarty showed cuts on her knees and head. Photos of Christopher and Philip showed marks consistent with choking, police said.

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