Brutal Killings: Mother Struck Children With Ax, Police Say

The Associated Press
C A I N H O Y, S.C., Nov. 13 —

A woman was charged with murder for allegedly killing her 6-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son with an ax.

Perstephanie Simmons, 30, has been charged with two counts of murder. Deputies questioned her, but still don’t know what prompted the killings, said Berkeley County Sheriff’s Capt. Ricky Driggers.

The children were found lying in tall grass near an abandoned home. The girl, Ingrid, was naked and the boy, Justin, was clad only in a diaper, police said.

Both were hit in the head with an ax, Berkeley County Coroner Wade Arnette said. He said the two likely were killed in Simmons’ mobile home, then taken outside.

Police found an ax inside the house.

Simmons has a second daughter, Amber, who has been taken into protective custody, authorities said. Her age was not available and police did not know where the child was when the killings took place.

Relatives said Simmons, who lives at the end of a winding dirt road, kept mostly to herself.

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Capt. Ricky Driggers said the killings were the most horrific in recent memory.

“This was horrible. It was flat horrible,” he said. “In 18 years in law enforcement, I have never seen anything like this. It’s the worst case I have ever had to work.”

No Motive Apparent

Detectives questioned Simmons on Saturday but don’t know what may have prompted the killings. “She’s not saying much now,” Driggers said.

The deputies were called to the home Saturday about 1:30 p.m. when a neighbor reported that children had been harmed.

Driggers said when deputies arrived, they talked with Simmons outside the home and then arrested her.

Arnette said autopsies on the children will be performed at Medical University Hospital to determine the cause of their deaths.

Simmons is at the Berkeley County Detention Center with her bail hearing scheduled for today.

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