March 21 (Reuters) - A Florida mother will face charges of murdering her young children and attempting to murder her five-month-old baby, police said on Saturday, after arresting the woman holding a knife outside the home and finding the children inside.
Jessica Lacey McCarty, 33, of Palm Bay, was being held without bond at the Brevard County Detention Center and would face a judge within 24 hours to be formally charged, police said. Palm Bay is on Florida's east coast just south of Cape Canaveral.
Police have not said how they believe the children, ages six and seven, were killed. Autopsies would be performed on Sunday.
"We are still trying to verify the sequence of events, how and why they occurred," Lieutenant Mario Augello of the Criminal Investigations Division said in a statement.
Officers went to McCarty's home after receiving an emergency call from a woman who claimed to have killed her children, police said in a news release on Saturday.
When police arrived, they found McCarty in front of the house, holding a butcher knife in her hand and suffering from minor injuries.
She ignored commands to drop the knife "which led the officers to deploy several "less lethal" beanbag rounds to gain compliance," the release said.
Inside the home, officers found three unresponsive children.
A seven-year-old girl named Laci and her six-year-old brother Philip were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, police said.
The baby remained in critical condition with life-threatening injuries at an Orlando hospital, police said.
Palm Bay police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said on Friday she could not disclose the type of wounds suffered by the children other than to say they were not stabbed, sliced or shot. Police originally reported they were investigating a suspected stabbing. (Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle. Editing by Andre Grenon)
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