(Daily Mail By MEGHAN KENEALLY) – A one-year-old girl died and her five-year-old sister remains in critical condition after their mother allegedly tried to drown them in a baby bath in their Los Angeles home.
Police suspect that Lorna Valle, the mother of the two girls, ‘snapped’ when she decided to try to drown her daughters Marian, 5, and Lindsay, 1.
Valle was stopped by her husband who returned to their south Los Angeles home from the grocery store around 7.30am Wednesday morning after going to pick up juice and milk for his daughters.
When the father arrived in the house, neighbours heard screams of ‘My babies! My babies!’ and police were called.
Both girls were not breathing and unconscious when police arrived and found them in the bathroom of the family’s converted garage. They were taken to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Marian remains there in extremely critical condition.
Witnesses said that ‘the little one’ was ‘in really bad shape’ and almost purple when police arrived.
The mother was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. She remains in custody on $1.5million bail.
‘We believe she is responsible for what happened to these two children,’ said Los Angeles police commander Andy Smith.
The family emigrated from Guatamala to California about 10 years ago, and neighbours said that they were hard working and friendly.
Now questions are being raised about Lorna Valle’s mental state, and some say that she had appeared depressed in recent weeks.
‘A neighbour said she told her that if anything happens to her, she would leave the girls to the father or to them,’ said Dina Ceballos.
‘She was asking for psychological help and she didn’t receive it. It’s a sad story. It’s a sad ending. She needs help.
Ms Ceballos was nearby at the time of the incident and heard the father scream ‘If I didn’t get out, my girls would still be alive! Why didn’t she kill herself instead of trying to kill my girls?’
Others also suspected mental issues, like neighbour Jennifer Houston who told The Los Angeles Times that the mother seemed ‘like she was disturbed’.
The name of the father has not been released, by another neighbour had good things to say about him.
‘He’s quiet. He’s the one who seems more adept,’ said Judy McCann.
‘He’s the one who had all his marbles.
‘She stays in the house. She never comes out.’
Because the police department found the scene so traumatic, the first responders from the police and fire departments are being offered counselling services to help them cope with what they saw.
‘This is a tragic and horrific incident. Something no one likes to see,’ said deputy police chief Pat Gannon.