Paulding County

Father says mother who stabbed 3 children was ‘good mom,’ suffered from depression

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — Three children are dead after a woman tried stabbing her seven kids while their house was on fire.

Darlene Brister, 40, is facing malice murder charges after Paulding County investigators received a report of house fire where a woman was inside allegedly attacking and stabbing her children.

The 911 caller said a woman inside the house was trying to stab the people inside and that the house was also on fire.

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When investigators arrived, they found seven children in the house.

Deputies say two of the children, a five-month-old and a three-year-old, were pronounced dead on the scene. The three-year-old had suffered multiple stab wounds.

Three more children, ages five, nine and 11, were taken to local hospitals for their injuries. The five-year-old has since died from their injuries.

The nine-year-old remains in critical, but stable condition.

The two remaining children, 14 and 16, did not appear to have any injuries.

Darlene Brister was denied bond on Monday and the judge said she will be facing additional charges.

Channel 2′s Michele Newell talked to Ricky Brister, who was the children’s father. He said he has been married to Darlene Brister for 17 years and that she was a good mom, but suffered from depression.

“I’m hurting,” Brister said.

He didn’t want to talk about her struggles with depression.

“I don’t want to get into that kind of stuff, because that kind of stuff leads to other stuff,” Brister said.

Brister said the surviving children are now homeless and living out of a hotel.

Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins spoke to neighbors who witnessed the chaotic and tragic scene unfold on Woodwind Drive late Friday night.

“Three lives are gone,” said neighbor Edward Swinger.

“I walked out the door and could see the fire in the house,” said neighbor Willie Hayes. “They bring the kids out dead and she is still hiding in the house. It’s pitiful.”


Neighbors told Channel 2 the family has lived across the street for nearly five years. They see the family often but they hardly know much about them.

“She doesn’t talk to anyone,” said Swinger.

“We would see them but we wouldn’t communicate with them,” said Hayes.

But they did hear that there were on-going domestic issues at the house but they never thought it would lead to this deadly violence between a mother and her children.

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“It’s so sad,” said Hayes. “Why would someone do that to their children?”

The names and ages of the three children who died have not been released. Brister is being held in the Paulding County Detention Center without bond.

Fire officials are still working to learn the cause of the fire.