TEMPE, Ariz. — An Arizona mother is facing first-degree murder charges after her two children were found violently killed at her Tempe home Saturday morning.
Tempe police said just after 7 a.m. local time, they were flagged down by a woman, later identified as 40-year-old Yui Inoue, at the Apache substation. Inoue, who primarily spoke Japanese, reported to officers that she was hearing voices telling her to kill her children.
Officers said they later went to her apartment for a follow-up investigation.
When officers entered the apartment, they located two children, identified by police as a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy, who were dead and had been severely mutilated.
Police said during the investigation they learned that at around 12:30 a.m., officers responded to the same apartment regarding a domestic dispute between Inoue and her husband. While responding to that call, police told the couple to separate, but no arrests were made.
During that initial call, officers noted that the kids were safe and in their beds before they left.
Police said that officers later spoke to Inoue's husband, who reported that he had slept in his vehicle overnight.
He told authorities that he and his wife had an argument the night before. The husband added that he left the apartment around 3 a.m. because he said Inoue had reportedly threatened to stab him over money for an upcoming move to Japan.
The husband said that the children were asleep at the time of the argument and he claimed he did not have concerns about Inoue harming them.
Police said Inoue and her husband filed for divorce in April 2021 and were living in separate rooms in the same apartment.
During an interview with police, Inoue said she went to sleep with the children. When she woke up at around 4:30 a.m., she said her children were dead and she had blood on her arms and hands. She took a bath and drove to the police station.
Police said Inoue did not believe that she had killed the children, but said she could not remember.
Authorities said a meat cleaver with bloodstains was found inside a bag in the vehicle that Inoue used to drive to the police station.
The Kyrene School District says the two children killed were students at Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School and that counselors will be available on campus for any student or staff member in need of support.
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
“Kyrene School District is devastated to learn of the loss of two Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School students," the distict said in a statement.
“Moments like this remind us that life is precious and too often fleeting," Superintendent Laura Toenjes said. "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."
Tempe Police Department's peer support team is working with officers who "experienced emotional trauma due to observing the tragic scene and the trauma done to the young children."
Inoue was booked in the Tempe City Jail on two counts of first-degree murder.
This story was originally published by Cydeni Carter on Scripps station KNXV in Phoenix.