Mom charged in kids' deaths in country illegally

Isabel Martinez the woman accused of fatally stabbing her four children and husband smiles and gives two thumbs up at her court hearing

Martinez is being held at Gwinnett County Jail on five counts of murder, five counts of malice murder and six counts of aggravated assault.

Isabel Martinez appeared in Gwinnett County Court, smiling, praying and at one point, looking directly at news cameras and giving a thumbs-up. The fifth child, Diana Romero, 9, has been hospitalized at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta where she is said to be in a serious but stable condition.

Police said Martinez called 911 to report the killings from the home the family shared outside Atlanta.

Through an interpreter, Martinez repeatedly waived her right to an attorney, saying "My attorney is the people".

Neighbor Letty Perez tells CBS46 News that Martinez had recently lost her father and the family had only lived in the home for about a month after moving to Georgia from IL.

Martinez's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, July 20. She has no prior encounters with the agency, he said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said in an email Friday that Martinez - whom he identified as Maria Isabel Garduno-Martinez - is from Mexico and entered the country illegally. "It does not matter what color you are because God loves us all". "This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighborhood and community". He said that she had begun acting differently, and was "a lot meaner" after the death of her father. Pihera later told ABC News that Martinez made that call.

Lawrenceville Ga. Martinez is charged with killing four of her of children and their father
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She is also being held for United States immigration and customs violations.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl.

The children killed were identified as 10-year-old Isabela Martinez, 7-year-old Dacota Romero, 2-year-old Axel Romero and 4-year-old Dillan Martin-Romero.

The mother of the children has been detained, according to police.

Authorities have not said if Martinez was injured or discussed a motive.

Early indications are that a knife was used to attack the five, though a medical examiner will make the final determination about the cause of death, she said.

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