Mother desperately tried to save her 2 children shot by their father in Florida, witness says

Murder-suicide investigated in Miami Lakes

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – A woman desperately tried to save her 9-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter after they had been shot by their father Tuesday night in Miami Lake, a witness told News 6 partner WPLG-TV.

The children were identified by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office as Baleria Tovar and Matias Tovar. Their father was identified as 41-year-old Humberto Tovar.

Miami-Dade police said they responded to the 6400 block of Miami Lakes Drive around 9:30 p.m.

According to police, the children were shot by their father near a lake before the man turned the gun on himself.

Police said the mother and father were divorced.

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Magda Peña lives nearby and told Local 10 News that she had just gotten out of the shower when she heard the mother screaming.

“After I heard her screaming, I just opened the door and I ran,” she said. “My son ran behind me. He didn’t even have shoes. I ran across the grass and when I got there, I saw the lady on top of the little boy. I couldn’t see the dad or the daughter because of the darkness at first.”

Peña said people from a nearby Publix also ran over to help and she initially thought the boy had drowned and told her son to call 911. She said when she looked at her son, his face was white because he had just spotted the other lifeless bodies and a gun nearby.

According to Peña, the mother pulled her daughter’s body closer to her son’s and tried to do compressions on them both at the same time.

“She was like, ‘Please don’t stop. They’re alive, they’re alive. Please don’t stop.’ But they were already all dead,” Peña said.

Peña said she also tried performing CPR on the boy, while the mother continued doing CPR on her daughter, but they were unable to revive the children.

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According to police, the ex-husband had picked up his kids earlier and their mother tried to contact him because it was getting late and the kids have school, but he never responded to her.

Police said the mother found their location and responded to the canal bank area, where she found their bodies.

Peña said the mother cursed at her children’s father in Spanish.

Miami-Dade police say the investigation is ongoing. A motive remains unclear.

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.