A New York mother took her own life and those of her two young daughters on Tuesday, shortly after a stint at a mental institution, the Associated Press reports.
Angela Mtambu, 47, was said to have been devastated by the suicide of her 23-year-old son, who died of asphyxiation in the same home in East Greenbush, a suburb of Albany, New York’s capital. In what may have been an attempt to mimic her son’s death, she suffocated herself and her 6- and 9-year-old daughters using nitrogen gas.
According to the news wire, police were called to the Albany townhouse by Mtambu’s brother, Bernard Pamberi, a little before 2 a.m. Tuesday after he and an uncle, both of whom were staying in the home, heard a hissing sound coming from one of the rooms but could not enter it. First responders had to break down the door to gain access to the locked room, where they found the mother and the two girls unconscious. Rescuers tried CPR for about half an hour, AP notes, and the three were transported to Albany Medical Center, but it was too late.
“I just think she couldn’t take it,” Pamberi told reporters, according to AP.
In early June a Texas relative, concerned for the safety of the three, called authorities. Mtambu was placed in protective custody and kept under psychiatric observation, while local social services took the girls.
After about three weeks, Mtambu was allowed access to her daughters with no order of protection.
“She apparently did not exhibit behavior that is needed to trigger a preventative-custody arrest,” East Greenbush Police Chief Christopher Lavin said, according to AP. “I can’t think of anything under the law that we could have done.”
Read more at the Associated Press.