Arizona Mom Sang Lullabies While She Smothered Her Kids, Police Say

Rachel Henry allegedly confessed to murdering the young children one by one.

January 22, 2020

Rachel Henry [Maricopa County Sheriff's Office]

Rachel Henry [Maricopa County Sheriff's Office]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

An Arizona mother has confessed to smothering to death her three young children in the family’s Phoenix home, police said.

Rachel Henry, 22, faces three counts of first-degree murder after she was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of killing son Zane Ezri Henry, 3, and daughters Mireya Henry, 1, and Catalaya Kyeana Rios, 6 months. It’s unclear if all three were Henry’s biological children, AZ Central reported.

Police said they discovered the bodies of the kids Monday evening around 7:30 p.m. after a female relative called 911. First responders attempted CPR, but the three children were pronounced dead.

According to a probable cause statement obtained by AZ Family, Henry allegedly first smothered the middle child.

"Rachel was playing with the one-year-old female and was wrestling on top of her. Rachel felt the 1-year-old female's breathing was obstructed but continued to impede her breath by placing her hand over the [toddler’s] mouth," the statement reads.

Police allege in the report that the 3-year-old boy began punching and yelling at Henry “in an attempt to get her to stop” smothering his sister and that Henry “knew she had killed the one-year-old female when she stopped kicking.”

The mom then chased after her son, but she was interrupted when the kids’ 30-year-old father and a 49-year-old relative, identified as an aunt, returned home, according to AZ Central.

After one of the relatives played with the little boy for a short time, Henry took the child into a back bedroom. Henry was "singing to the 3-year-old male as he was scratching her chest and pinching her while she placed her hand over his nose and mouth… straddling him to smother him until he died," the statement alleges.

Police claim the mom next took her 6-month-old infant into a bedroom and fed her a bottle until she fell asleep.

“Rachel sang her a song as she placed her hand over her face and impeded her breath… until she became unconscious and died," the probable cause statement reads.

The mother allegedly told police she positioned the three deceased children’s bodies on the living room couch, as if they were napping.

"I never would have suspected that from her," Henry’s friend, Tiffani Hardy, told Phoenix’s FOX10 of the slayings. "I knew she was unhappy, but not to that extent."

AZ Family reported that a prosecutor from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office claimed Henry has a history of using methamphetamine and the Department of Child Services in Oklahoma had previously removed her children from the home because of her drug addiction.

Detectives noted in the probable cause statement that a witness said Henry was acting strange in recent days. Court documents show the mother was not under the influence of drugs when the kids died, Cleveland’s WJW-TV noted.

Henry’s bond was set at $3 million, and she faces a minimum sentence of life in prison on each count of murder if she’s found guilty. She’s due back in court on Jan. 28.

Read more: CBS News, AZ Family

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