Arizona woman kills son, herself in hospital room: police

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) – A mother killed her 5-year-old son before shooting herself to death early on Saturday in an apparent murder-suicide inside the child’s hospital room in suburban Phoenix, police said.

    The bodies of the mother, Lola “Tammy” Griffith, 27, and her son Helious were found by hospital staff during a routine check at about 2 a.m.(0800 GMT) at Cardon Children’s Medical Center, said Detective Steve Berry, a spokesman for the Mesa Police Department. He declined to disclose how the child had died.

    No others at the hospital were hurt or threatened, Berry said.

    Investigators said hospital staff checked the fourth-floor room at about midnight and saw the mother and son asleep in bed and that all appeared to be normal. It is hospital policy to check rooms every two hours.

    “When they came back at 2 a.m., both of them were down,” Berry said. “It was apparent that life-saving measures would not be needed.”

    He said the boy was admitted to the hospital at least a week ago, but declined to comment on the child’s treatment.

    Berry said the family was involved in a case involving the boy with the Arizona Department of Child Safety, the state’s child welfare agency. He said the last contact came two days ago.

    The details of the welfare case were not immediately available on Saturday.

    “We’d obviously would like to know the why this happened,” Berry said, “but we sadly may never know that.”

(Editing By Frank McGurty and Alan Crosby)