The Orange County District Attorney's office said Monday that Marilyn Edge poisoned her two children, Jaelen, 13, and Faith, 10. The mother has been charged with murder for the deaths.
Costa Mesa Police found Edge trying to strangle herself in the drivers' seat of her Honda Accord after crashing the car into an electrical box in a mall parking lot. A subsequent conversation between her and police at the scene led law enforcement to a room at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Santa Ana, where they found the children.
The Orange County Coroner's Office performed an autopsy Monday. Later, prosecutors announced two murder charges against Edge, as well as enhancements for multiple murders and murder by poison.
The children's father, Mark Edge, lives in Georgia and could not be reached for comment.
His attorney, Marian Weeks, said Mark and Marilyn Edge divorced in 2006 and had fought over custody of the children ever since. Weeks said last week a Georgia judge ordered the mother, who was living in Scottsdale, Arizona, to return to Georgia and hand over custody of children to Mark Edge by Sunday.
Instead, Weeks said, local police knocked on Mark Edge's door at 5 p.m. Sunday to deliver the news that his children were dead.
"It's horrible, horrible," Weeks said. "The police called me from Mark's house and he'd just gone to pieces."
Attorney Mary Ann Korre, who represented Marilyn Edge in her final custody hearing, said the mother was behaving normally when she met her.
"It appeared she was going to comply," with the judge's ruling, Korre said.
Weeks said that Mark Edge has checked into a local hospital for treatment for emotional distress.
"Mark and I would not have been shocked if she didn't show up, but we never anticipated this," Weeks said.
Marilyn Edge is being held at the Santa Ana Police Jail without bail. She's due in court Tuesday morning to enter a plea to the charges.