PHOENIX — An Arizona woman is accused of fatally sedating her two young daughters with over-the-counter and prescription drugs, authorities said.
Retta Renee Cruse, 35, of Phoenix, was booked on two charges of first-degree murder on Tuesday, according to Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office online booking records. She is accused of the deaths of her children, Royal McIntyre, 4, and Aleyah McIntyre, 9, KNXV reported. The children were found unresponsive in a bed in a home last week, the television station reported.
The bodies of the two girls were found Sept. 8, KPHO reported. According to a probable cause statement, the girls were found on one bed, “facing each other, with their arms around each other as though they had been placed into this position.”
According to the Phoenix Police Department, there were “no obvious injuries” to either child, the television station reported.
Investigators believe Cruse used the medications to sedate and overdose the children, and a prescription pill was found near the girls’ mouths, KSAZ reported.
According to court documents, Cruse was found nude barricaded in a bedroom with self-inflicted knife wounds, according to KNPX. Officials also found a written and signed note near the two girls with a motive and a signature matching the signature on Cruse’s driver’s license, according to the television station.
Cruse reportedly told police that she believed her daughters had contracted COVID-19, and she was isolating them in their bedroom while giving them medication to help them sleep, KSAZ reported.
“While in the hospital, Retta made admissions to hospital staff as to her involvement in taking the life of her oldest daughter and attempting to take her own life,” according to court documents.
A person whose name was redacted from court documents allegedly told detectives that Cruse was distraught after a recent court hearing, where she lost custody of one of her daughters, KSAZ reported.
Cruse was released from an area hospital on Tuesday and was arrested, the television station reported. Her bail was set at $3 million, and she is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on Sept. 23.
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