A young Texas mother presumably in depression hanged three of her small daughters and herself in a closet using pieces of clothing and sashes.
A fourth child, an 8-month-old daughter, was also found dangling in the closet but was rescued.
"It's horrendous. That's all I can say," Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said. Authorities did not immediately identify the dead children, ages 5, 3 and 2.
After the 23-year-old woman failed to show up for work, her sister, who lived nearby, forced her way into the locked residence in the Oak Hills mobile home park, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Fort Worth in this rural community of 1,600 people.
The sheriff said the sister rescued the infant when she realized the baby girl was still alive. The infant was listed in good condition Tuesday at a Fort Worth hospital, Fowler said.
The sheriff said the hangings appeared to be murder-suicide because the trailer's doors were locked from the inside and a relative said the woman had been depressed.
The young mother and her girls were last seen alive Monday evening, he said. She was believed to be separated from her husband.
"I just got a big kick out of watching the kids play over there on her porch, and today it's sad, very sad," said neighbor Joyce Harris.
Texas has seen a number of child killings by mothers in recent years.
Less than five years earlier, another Hudson Oaks family was torn apart when Dee Etta Perez, 39, shot her three children, ages 4, 9 and 10, before killing herself.
Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the family's Houston bathtub in 2001. In 2003, Deanna Laney beat her two young sons to death with stones in East Texas, and Lisa Ann Diaz drowned her daughters in a Plano bathtub. Dena Schlosser fatally severed her 10-month-old daughter's arms with a kitchen knife in 2004.
All four of those women were found innocent by reason of insanity. Yates initially was convicted of capital murder, but that verdict was overturned on appeal.
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