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Australian Woman Charged With Murder of Eight Children
From the Wall Street Journal of Sun, 21 Dec 2014 06:45:36 EST
A woman prays during a church service to remember eight children killed in the Cairns suburb of Manoora, Australia. A 37-year-old mother was charged with the murder of seven of her children and her niece.
A woman prays during a church service to remember eight children killed in the Cairns suburb of Manoora, Australia. A 37-year-old mother was charged with the murder of seven of her children and her niece. European Pressphoto Agency

SYDNEY—An Australian woman was charged with murder on Sunday in the deaths of seven of her children and her niece, whose bodies were found inside her home, police said.

Mersane Warria, 37, was charged with eight counts of murder in a bedside hearing at a hospital in the northern city of Cairns, where she is recovering from stab wounds, Queensland state police said.

Police were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries. They found the bodies upon arrival, along with Ms. Warria, who was suffering from stab wounds to the chest.

Police haven’t said how the children died, but Queensland Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said they are examining several knives in the home that may have been used as a weapon. Suffocation was also a possible cause of death, he said.

“We are considering that and that’s why it’s taking a bit of time,” he said. “It could be a range of things, from suffocation to 1,000 other things.”

A coroner was conducting autopsies to determine the official causes of death.

The children, four girls and four boys, ranged in age from 2 to 14, Mr. Asnicar said.

Police weren't looking for any other suspects, Mr. Asnicar said.

Dozens of weeping mourners visited a makeshift memorial of flowers, stuffed animals and candles set up in a park next to the family’s home. “My babies, my babies,” one man wailed.

A church service was held on Sunday morning to honor the children and a candlelight vigil was scheduled for the evening.

The tragedy comes as Australia is still reeling from a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe last week, when a gunman took 18 hostages, two of whom were killed along with the gunman after police stormed the site.

“The news out of Cairns is heartbreaking,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement. “All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened. This is an unspeakable crime. These are trying days for our country.”



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