An Arizona woman recently charged with two counts of first-degree murder is accused of killing her children with a meat cleaver.
As Law&Crime previously reported, Police in Tempe, Ariz. announced the arrest of Yui Inoue, 40, on Saturday.
Authorities initially declined to release specifics about the slayings but spokesperson Sergeant Steve Carbajal said the 7-year-old and 9-year-old victims sustained extreme physical trauma before they died.
“There were several pieces of information/evidence that led detectives to believe that the cleaver was the weapon used during this incident,” Carbajal told reporters. “There were several pieces of information/evidence that led detectives to believe that the cleaver was the weapon used during this incident.”
The homicides were first announced late Saturday evening:
It is with a very heavy heart that we share that we are investigating a homicide in the 4100 block of S. Mill Ave. Officers located a deceased 9 year old and 7 year old inside the apartment. The mother of the children has been detained and is being interviewed. pic.twitter.com/hCEymjjHoZ
— Tempe Police (@TempePolice) May 15, 2021
On Monday, Inoue made her first court appearance over the grisly and shocking loss of life that occurred in the Phoenix suburb.
Inoue allegedly contacted police first. Authorities say she flagged down officers early Saturday morning at a police substation on East Apache Boulevard near Arizona State University.
The distraught mother was primarily speaking Japanese, police say, and admitted that voices in her head told her to kill her children.
Officers followed up and visited her apartment. There they found the mutilated bodies of Inoue’s 9-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy.
“[S]he was hearing voices telling her to kill her children,” charging documents said. The suspect allegedly told police that she woke up with blood on her hands around 4:30 a.m. to find her children dead and covered in blood near a doorway. After that, she took a bath, she said, and finally “woke up” to the reality of the violence afterwards–but purportedly had no memory of committing the brutal crime.
According to local ABC affiliate KNXV, Tempe police said that a meat cleaver covered in blood was discovered inside a bag in the vehicle Inoue drove to the police substation.
Carbajal added that the meat cleaver had a 6-inch blade and that the bag also contained blood-stained clothing.
That claim was repeated in court on Monday.
“I did not kill anybody,” Inoue said through a Japanese interpreter.
Prosecutor Jay Rademacher disagreed. He asked a Maricopa County Court that Inoue be held on a $2 million cash bond.
Rademacher recounted the details, noting that the children were “almost completely decapitated.”
According to the Associated Press, Inoue reportedly laid her head down on the podium as Rademacher described the injuries.
The two children, whose names are not being released, attended the Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School.
“Kyrene School District is devastated to learn of the loss of two Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School students,” a statement reads. “We ask for compassion for our Cielo community during this time of healing.”
“Moments like this remind us that life is precious and too often fleeting,” Superintendent Laura Toenjes added. “Please hold your children and loved ones close. The Kyrene community has a way of coming together with love and support, and I thank you in advance for sending that love toward our Cielo families, staff and students.”
“These children were helpless, Your Honor, and did everything they could to fight their mother,” the prosecutor said.
As for the children’s father, he told investigators that he slept in his car on the night in question after an argument with his wife over money for a trip to Japan allegedly ended with her threatening to stab him. He said he never had any reason to suspect the children were in danger.
Inoue was initially arrested after investigators noticed what appeared to be blood on her heel along with several small cuts on her fingers and a series of bruises on her hands and knees.
“There’s something elevated about that when it’s a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old,” Sgt. Carbajal said just before Inoue was arrested on Saturday. “This should have never happened.”
Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.
[image via Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]
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