Palm Bay mother to face murder charges in death of 2 children
Police: Jessica McCarty facing attempted murder charge on infant son
PALM BAY, Fla. – A Palm Bay mother is facing murder charges in the death of two of her children who were found injured Friday, police said.
According to police, 33-year-old Jessica Lacy McCarty is also facing an attempted murder charge for critical injuries to her third child, a 5-month-old boy.
The incident happened before 6 p.m. Friday at a home on Kenmore Street Northwest.
Police said emergency dispatchers received a 911 call from a woman claiming she had killed her three kids. Seconds later, dispatchers received another 911 call from a man claiming to be the father of one of the children. He reported his child was not breathing.
When patrol officers arrived, they saw a woman outside the home armed with a knife, according to Palm Bay police.
Police then found three children unresponsive with serious injuries. Palm Bay police originally said they were responding to a reported stabbing, but the details of how the children were injured or killed have not been confirmed, police said.
The children have been identified by police as Laci McCarty, 7, Philip McCarty, 6, and 5-month-old Christopher Swist.
Police said Laci was pronounced dead Friday evening at a local hospital and Philip was pronounced dead at 11:22 p.m. Friday. Christopher was listed in critical condition and was taken to an Orlando hospital.
The children's mother, Jessica McCarty was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. She is now in police custody and Brevard County deputies are in the process of transporting her to the Brevard County Detention Center. McCarty will be held there without bond on the charges, police said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday and a cause of death has not been confirmed, according to police.
"We are still trying to verify the sequence of events, how and why they occurred," said Lieutenant Mario Augello of the Criminal Investigations Division. "This is still a very active criminal investigation and our priority as always is making sure we have the right answers so there can be justice in the deaths and injuries of these innocent children."
The Department of Children and Families said it is grieving the loss to the McCarty and Swist families.
"When the lives of innocent children are taken it leaves family, friends and the community with many unanswered questions," DCF officials said in a statement. "The department is working closely with the Palm Bay Police Department in an effort to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident."
DCF said it had one prior investigation with the family in 2009 regarding allegations of inadequate supervision.
"That investigation was closed with findings and the mother was referred and receiving services from a community mental health provider," DCF said. "There have been no other incidents with DCF involvement since that time."
Police said detectives are still reviewing the 911 calls and McCarty will face a judge within 24 hours to address the criminal charges and issues relating to bond.
"Due to the serious nature of the allegations, DCF Secretary Mike Carroll has asked for a review of the circumstances leading up to this incident, led by the assistant secretary for child welfare and the assistant secretary for substance abuse and mental health," DCF said.
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