NEW ORLEANS, LA (CBS/WWL) -- Police in New Orleans have arrested the mother of two young children after they were found dead on Wednesday. Relatives of the suspect say she suffered from mental illness and had recently gone off her medication.
Neighbors shaken to the core placed stuffed animals this morning in front of the apartment where two children were found dead the night before. Willie Williams says it's her way of paying respect. He says, "Maybe the kids don't have no toys, just to get some love that's all. Show some appreciation from the community."
It's a community still in shock over the horrific crime. Police say the children's mother, 23-year-old Chelsea Thornton, confessed to murdering her children. She's behind bars on two counts of first degree murder.
Last night, distraught family members tried to comfort each other outside. Police say Thornton shot her 3-year-old son then tried to shoot her 4-year-old daughter, but the semi-automatic handgun failed. Police say Thornton then drowned her daughter inside their Gert Town apartment. The children's grandmother found their bodies in the bathtub. Neighbors say Thornton and her children just moved in last week. Neighbor Eddie Martin says, "They were real nice people, the lady, didn't seem like nothing was wrong with her; a normal person. When I heard that those kids were shot in there, I was like, this can't be happening."
Police say Thornton went to university hospital after killing her children, complaining of stomach pains and a headache. Thornton's mother says her daughter had a long history of bi-polar schizophrenia and went off her medication. Neighbors say the area needs more mental health care... and they wish they somehow could have intervened. Williams says, "If she could have came out for help, I probably could have helped her, but I don't know what the probably was. But it's very, it's critical."