Broward County

Mom suffocated her two young kids with a bed sheet, police say

The scene outside the Miramar home where two children were found dead on Wednesday evening, June 8, 2016.
The scene outside the Miramar home where two children were found dead on Wednesday evening, June 8, 2016. Dylan Bouscher

Miramar police found the children side-by-side on a bed: dead.

On Thursday, their 40-year-old mother, Sophia Hines, was charged with two counts of premeditated murder. Police say she confessed to suffocating her children with a bed sheet.

Police said there were no other signs of injury on 7-month-old St. Leo and 3-year-old Ariel, who were found dead inside a Miramar home Wednesday evening.

Hines, visiting South Florida from Philadelphia with her children for the past week, was staying with a relative in a two-family pink home, divided into units A and B, in the 6100 block of Southwest 38th Street.

Police said Hines called her relative and told her to “come home now” around 4 p.m. She got home and found Hines sobbing and the children unresponsive.

Officials said Hines confessed to suffocating her baby son first, followed by her toddler daughter.

“The defendant gave no explanation for her actions,” the report read.

Police officers responded to the home at about 5:20 p.m. Wednesday after receiving a 911 call reporting a “medical emergency” involving two children. When the police arrived, the mother and relative led them to the back of the house, where they found the two unresponsive children. Miramar Fire Rescue arrived soon afterward and pronounced the children dead.

It didn’t take long for police to say they suspected foul play. Detectives were at the home late into the night, blocking off the street with crime scene tape. Police cars with flashing red lights lined both sides of the road.

Meanwhile, curious neighbors stood around, trying to figure out what happened.

“They seemed happy, like there was nothing wrong with them,” neighbor Janae Greenway said, adding she had seen the children Tuesday. “They seemed like they were taken care of.”

Anthony Singleton, who has been married to Hines for four months and is the father of the boy, told CBS’s Philadelphia affiliate KYW that his wife told him she was going to New York.

“This is the last thing I would expect for her to do,” he told the station. “I still don’t believe it.”

Hines’ daughter-in-law Antonique Singleton told the station that family was struggling to find answers.

“We just don’t understand why,” she said. “We don’t see any real problems where … this could have happened.”

Philadelphia Department of Human Services confirmed Thursday that “St. Leo and Ariel Hines were both involved with DHS but were not in the Department's custody.”

“The children and their parents were receiving in home services by Turning Points for Children, a DHS Community Umbrella Agency,” spokeswoman Alicia Taylor said in a statement. “Those services include face to face contact with the family to address their particular issues. We are saddened by this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

There was no record of any history of the family in Florida, the Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed.

“The murder of these young children is devastating and horrific,” the department said in a statement. “There is no prior child welfare history involving the mother and the children in the state of Florida. There are no other children in the home. All child protective investigations in Broward County are conducted by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and they have opened a death investigation.”

Carli Teproff: 305-376-3587, @CTeproff

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