Three Child Deaths After Home Burns Prompt Mother's Arrest

A mother in Rockmart, Georgia, was arrested by police after three of her children died following a house fire on Friday night.

According to the Paulding County Sheriff's Office, officers were called to the home around 9:30 p.m. after receiving reports that the residence was on fire, and that a woman inside was attempting to stab its occupants.

In response to the call, firefighters extinguished the fire, while deputies attempted to "rescue the occupants," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

"The fire was eventually extinguished and Paulding County Detectives, Paulding County Fire Investigators, Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) Agents, and State Fire Marshal's Investigators diligently went to work to make sense of the chaotic scene," police said.

Police Line
A mother in Georgia was recently arrested after three of her children died following a fire in their home. Above, police tape hangs across the street in front of a in Park City, Kansas, on February 26, 2005. Larry W. Smith/Getty

After the fire was put out and police canvassed the home, at least seven children were found inside. The sheriff's office said that two juveniles, a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old, were pronounced dead at the scene after they suffered "multiple apparent stab wounds."

"Three additional juveniles, ages 5, 9, and 11 were transported to local hospitals. The remaining two juveniles, ages 14 and 16 did not appear to have injuries," police reported in its statement.

In addition to the two deceased juveniles, another 5-year-old child was transported to a nearby hospital where they later died, according to police. Police did not reveal any information on the injuries that the child sustained during the incident.

In its Facebook post, the sheriff's office said that there were conflicting reports that a fourth child had also died at the scene, and noted that "the 9 year old remains in critical but stable condition."

Police identified the children's mother as 40-year-old Darlene Brister. According to police, she was located on the home's property and was taken into custody. Following her arrest, police charged Brister with two counts of malice murder. She is currently being held in the Paulding County Detention Center without bond.

Police did not release any further information on the house fire, and did not state whether or not Brister was the one who ignited it.

"As the investigation continues additional charges are imminent, but no additional charges have yet been filed," the sheriff's office said.

Newsweek reached out to the Paulding County Sheriff's Office for further comment.

Also on Friday, a California man held his 1-year-old child hostage and started an apartment fire after taking part in an informal visitation with the child.

Refusing to give the child back to his ex-girlfriend at the end of the visit, the man began holding the infant hostage at knifepoint and barricading himself in a bathroom, according to the Sacramento Bee. Another older child, who was in the apartment, called 911 while the parents continued to argue.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Kionna Rowe told the Bee that deputies attempted to communicate with the man once they arrived and noticed that he appeared to be setting small fires in the bathroom. Responders from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District used an ax to cut their way into the bathroom from a neighboring unit, where the father and child were found unconscious and rescued.

The man and the infant were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and are expected to survive. Investigators expect that numerous charges will eventually be leveled against the man once he recovers.