A 33-year-old man was arrested on Thursday for murdering his three young children, following a domestic violence incident involving his wife.
Robert Hodges was taken into custody early Thursday morning, shortly after midnight, by California Highway Patrol officers who pulled him over on Interstate 80 near West El Camino Avenue in Sacramento, California.
Hours earlier, police were called to a West Sacramento apartment complex for a domestic violence incident.
On the way to the apartment, they got a second call, saying that the children in the apartment were possibly dead.
Police and first responders tried life-saving measures on the children – an 11-year-old boy, a nine-year-old girl and an eight-month-old boy – but all three were pronounced dead at the scene.
By that time, Hodges had already fled.
Police have released no further details on the children, including how they died.
Police responded to the family’s apartment in West Sacramento Wednesday night and the three children above dead. Their names have not been released
Police were still trying to determine whether Hodges was the father of the children. In the picture above with the two eldest children, Hodges’ wife appears pregnant
However, they corrected previous reports that the children’s mother witnessed their murder.
West Sacramento Police Sgt. Roger Kinney says the mother, who is not being identified, did not witness the killings but ‘was in close proximity’.
He said she was a victim of domestic violence, but he didn’t know the extent of her injuries.
‘It’s horrific and it’s very difficult to deal with,’ Kinney said. ‘This [investigation] is going to take not hours, not days, it’s going to take a long time a long time to come to grips with what happened there.’
Simon Morales lights a candle on Thursday at a makeshift memorial outside the apartment where the three children were killed
The great-grandmother of three children says relatives were unaware of any previous marital disputes.
Irene Aiello of West Sacramento says the couple had been married more than a dozen years and had an 11-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl and another boy, born in January. She says that the three were beautiful children.
She says the grandparents have yet to speak to their grandson, Hodges, nor his wife.
Hodges was booked into the Yolo County jail on three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7pm Thursday night at Southport Elementary School.
Kinney said a chaplain will be sent out to help neighbors of the victims and grief counselors will be made available to the officers who responded to the scene, as well as the Washington Unified School District, Kinney said.
‘The officers are absolutely impacted, along with the firefighters, and certainly the family, the neighbors,’ he said. ‘It’s horrific and it’s very difficult to deal with.’