Mental health evaluation of mother was requested before 3 Reseda children were stabbed to death, records show

A woman taken into custody after her three young children were stabbed to death at a Reseda apartment was involved in a custody dispute with the father, who requested her mental health be evaluated, court records show.

The three children were discovered by their grandmother on Saturday morning, Los Angeles police said, and the mother, 30-year-old Liliana Carrillo, was apprehended hours later in Tulare County.

Court records from March identify the children as Joanna, 3, Terry, 2, and Sierra, nearly 6 months old. The father, Erik Denton lives in Porterville, Ca., near where Carrillo was taken into custody on Saturday.

On March 1, Denton filed for custody of the children and, later that week, filed for a temporary emergency visitation order with the Tulare County courts.

He also filed for a mental health evaluation of Carrillo on March 26, records show.

On March 12, Carrillo was granted a temporary restraining order for her and her children through the Los Angeles County courts against Denton, which was set to expire at the hearing date on April 6.

Court records showed that the children lived with both parents in Van Nuys for a few months in 2018, until they moved to Murrieta in September of that year through March 2019.

The family then moved to Porterville, where they all lived until Feb. 25, when Carrillo and the children came to Reseda, records show.

Teri Miller, cousin of the children’s father, told Fox11 that Carrillo was “very sick and she was not herself” in recent months. Miller said the father was reaching out to Child Protective Service and police to get Carrillo help and to get his children home safely.

Carrillo left with the children at the end of February, Miller said.

“He did everything that he could think of to get his kids back home safely and to get her help, too,” Miller said. “He still loved her, but she just was not herself. So he’s also frustrated with the system, because the system failed them.”

Miller said Denton was shocked and devastated. He had plans to pick the children up on Sunday to buy them fish for their new fish tank, she said.

A GoFundMe page for the family shows a picture of the three young children with their father, who holds the youngest as the two other siblings appear to be playing with bubble

Lupe Cuevas, a neighbor of the Carrillo family in Reseda, said she often saw the grandmother with the three youngsters, who she described as angels.

Northridge resident Ernie Arellano leaves three candles and prays on Sunday morning, April 11, 2021, at the apartment building where three children were found stabbed to death the morning before. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

A memorial that began Saturday night outside of the apartment in the 8000 block of Reseda Boulevard had grown on Sunday. People had left flowers, candles and toys in honor of the children.

Memo Chavez, of Northridge, and his wife Ann, were on their way to church on Sunday, but stopped at the memorial set up outside the Royal Villa Apartments to pray for the three children.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” said Chavez, who said he has made DoorDash deliveries at the apartment complex. His mother also lives nearby.

After hearing about the death of the three children on the news, “it just kept repeating in my head,” he said. “It’s unfathomable.”

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