Mom Charged in Children's Killings Was in Custody Battle

A mother is accused of killing her two children and leaving their bodies in a hotel before she tried to kill herself, police said

By Jason Kandel, Vikki Vargas and Brandon Lowrey
|  Monday, Sep 16, 2013  |  Updated 11:06 PM PDT
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The mother accused of murdering her two children in Santa Ana had lost a bitter custody fight just days before. Marilyn Edge used some type of poison to kill her two children and to keep her ex from having custody. Edge later attempted to take her own life. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on  Sept. 16, 2013.

Vikki Vargas

The mother accused of murdering her two children in Santa Ana had lost a bitter custody fight just days before. Marilyn Edge used some type of poison to kill her two children and to keep her ex from having custody. Edge later attempted to take her own life. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on  Sept. 16, 2013.

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Mother Faces Murder Charges in Child Deaths

Police arrested the mother of two children whose bodies were discovered in a Santa Ana hotel room after the woman apparently tried to kill herself in a nearby city. Jane Yamamoto reports from Santa Ana for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2013.

Police Investigate Deaths of Two Children in Santa Ana Hotel Room

Police on Saturday were investigating the apparent slayings of two children whose bodies were found inside a Santa Ana hotel room on Saturday. Tena Ezzeddine reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2013.
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An Arizona woman is accused of fatally poisoning her two children a day before she was supposed to turn them over to their father as part of a custody agreement issued in a courtroom last week, an attorney for the woman’s ex-husband told NBC4 on Monday.

Marilyn K. Edge, 42, of Scottsdale, Ariz., lost custody of her children on Wednesday after a judge ruled “extreme parental alienation” on her part, said Marian Weeks, the attorney for Edge’s ex-husband, Mark.

Mark Edge was decorating his children's rooms on Sunday for their expected homecoming when he got the call from Santa Ana police informing him that his children were dead. He had to be hospitalized after hearing the news, Weeks said.

"He could not talk to me on the phone at all," Weeks said. “It’s tragic. It’s just tragic … Never in our minds did we imagine that she’d murder them.”

Mark Edge had previously spent a year in Afghanistan as a U.S Air Force reservist.

An attorney for Marilyn Edge did not immediately return a call.

She was in a custody fight with her husband in a Georgia court after the couple divorced in 2007, records said. The unemployed woman traveled from her home in Arizona to testify in court on Wednesday when a judge made the order against her, Weeks said.

The news comes as prosecutors filed two felony counts of special circumstances murder charges against her. The special circumstances sentencing enhancements include committing multiple murders and murder by poison.

She faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

She was on suicide watch at an Orange County jail, police said.

Edge is accused of killing her son, Jaelen, 13, and daughter, Faith, 10, officials said. Jaelen, court documents said, was "on the autism spectrum."

Their bodies were found Saturday morning in a third-floor room of a Hampton Inn & Suites in Santa Ana, officials said.

The case broke after Edge allegedly told police about the children after she crashed her car about 8 a.m. behind a Costa Mesa supermarket, police said.

Police said she had propane tanks in the front seat of her gray Honda Accord with a Georgia license plate and crashed into an electrical box in a failed suicide. When police arrived, she tried to strangle herself with an electrical cord.

Police had to smash car windows to force her out, Costa Mesa police said in a press release.

Edge allegedly told police about the children in the hotel while she was being taken to a hospital for injuries she suffered in the crash, officials said.

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