Fresh home from a beach vacation and looking forward to the upcoming school year, a Gwinnett County, Georgia family’s summer ended in tragedy after a fatal stabbing claimed five lives. An early morning 911 call from inside the home brought emergency responders, who reported one man and four young children stabbed to death (and a fifth child in need of medical assistance). The mother was taken into custody by police and is currently the only suspect.
The family had only recently moved from Illinois to the small Georgia town of Loganville, where they had extended family. Neighbors recall seeing the children — the youngest a toddler, the eldest seven years old — playing with their cousins in a nearby park. They had just been enrolled in an after-school program run by Jim Hollandsworth, another neighborhood resident. But the mother was under a great deal of stress, between the recent move and her own father’s death a month ago, according to Pedro Ramirez, a 15-year-old neighbor. He says she may have been struggling with depression. A language barrier observed by the police when they were interviewing her might have contributed to a further sense of isolation.
The close-knit, diverse community is shocked at the sudden tragedy. Many had no idea what had happened until they were getting ready for work and summer school and saw the ambulance outside the family’s home. “This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighborhood and community,” police said. “We are hoping and praying that the remaining victim survives his/her injuries and makes a full recovery.”
There is no word yet on the surviving child’s condition, or how long she was in the home before the 911 call was made. Police officers who have processed the scene say it’s possible that the bodies were in the home for hours before the 911 call was made. The little girl was transported by helicopter to Childrens’ Healthcare of Atlanta. While their mother was struggling, the children were reported by those who knew them to seem happy and well adjusted. “Everyone is in complete shock,” Hollandsworth said. “The last few weeks our staff has gotten to know these kids very well.” He described the children as “great, happy, participating in our programs … they just jumped right in.”