A Castle Rock mother who called 911 Monday morning to report that she had attempted suicide told a dispatcher her two children were "already in heaven," according to police.
Now that mother, identified as 41-year-old Kelli Murphy, is facing two counts of first-degree murder, child abuse and other charges, said Castle Rock Police Chief Tony Lane.
The mother called 911 at 7:48 a.m. Monday to report she had attempted suicide by slashing her wrists, Lane said. When a dispatcher asked about her children and if they were home, Murphy said: "They're already in heaven," according to Lane.
Officers responding to the home at 236 Cherry Street then found the bodies of her two children, a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl.
There were no visible injuries on the children -- Liam and Madigan -- and the cause of their deaths is being investigated, he said. It's not clear how long they were dead before they were discovered.
Murphy was treated for lacerations to her wrist at Sky Ridge Medical Center and released. She was taken into police custody at about 2:30 p.m.
Murphy and her 41-year-old husband, Robert Eric Murphy, filed for divorce Feb. 9 and were separated, Lane said.
"The father is not a suspect in the case," Lane said.
Police Called To Home On Welfare Check On Sunday
At Robert Murphy's request, police went to the couple's home Sunday afternoon to conduct a welfare check. Lane said he did not know if officers actually checked on the children Sunday.
A female neighbor questioned how police handled the welfare check.
"If they were here yesterday, why didnt they stop this?" the neighbor asked 7NEWS Reporter Russell Haythorn.
Liam and Madigan attended Rock Ridge Elementary School, and crisis counselors were sent there Monday, said Randy Barber, a spokesman for the Douglas County School District. He said school officials were sending a letter about the tragedy home with students Monday.
Neighbor Says Mom Was Nurturing, Sweet
Neighbors on Cherry Street were stunned and distraught. A woman said Kelli Murphy was very nurturing and sweet with her children.
Other neighbors said the kids were active, involved, and played with other children in the Founders Village neighborhood.
"It's unfathomable. I don't know understand why this stuff happens," neighbor Richard Parson said.
It's a father-son talk Parson never could have imagined -- explaining to his son how one of his friends was murdered by his own mother.
"I grabbed my son and I held him, pretty much like a cradle, and let him cry," the father said.
"It's a tragedy. It's very sad," said neighbor Terry Wagner. "I have a 9-year-old and a 10-year-old and they know them. It's going to kill my wife. It's going to be tough."
"We knew that there was trouble up there, that they were going through some problems and stuff," Wagner said.
Mother Obtained Restraining Order, Then Wants To Drop Divorce Proceedings
Kelli Murphy obtained a temporary restraining order against her husband on March 3, divorce records said.
She accused her husband of being abusive to her and the children, allegedly twice grabbing 6-year-old Madigan by the throat and one time threatening to "smack that smart mouth right off her face," according to court documents. Yet, Kelli Murphy acknowledged in court papers that she had never reported her husband to police.
Six days later, the wife asked a judge to dismiss the restraining order. She wrote her husband was "getting help (counseling) for his anger issues
and our children will no longer be in harm's way."
She requested a dismissal of the divorce on April 11.
"I do not want to divorce my husband. We filed papers wrongly out of anger," Kelli Murphy wrote in her dismissal motion. "This needs to stop. We need counseling, NOT a divorce."
"After attending the parenting class, I know we need to pursue every method we can to save this marriage, keep our family together before it is too late," Murphy wrote, referring to a "Co-Parenting After Divorce Seminar" the couple completed.
The couple had filed for bankruptcy in June 2010, and the divorce and separation compounded their financial hardship, according to divorce records.
In court filings, Kelli Murphy said her husband had emptied their bank account and put her and the children "on an 'allowance' of what he sees fit to give us."
Robert Murphy's attorney said the husband was also in a financial bind because his "wife refuses to get a job to help pay the bills," according to court records. So, all the husband's discretionary income was going to pay for his wife's living expenses and $800 a month in spouse and child support.
"(The) husband has been living with his mother in a small residence," the attorney wrote.
In a dispute that may have been a flashpoint, Kelli Murphy had urged delaying a Monday hearing about temporary child support issues.
"Both of our kids
have end-of-year parties on May 23 that I had planned on attending," she wrote, adding that her husband also wanted to attend.
But Robert Murphy objected to the delay, and his attorney said the "wife refuses to let (her) husband have any parenting time other than the rare days that she allows."
"The situation is dire, and (the) husband requires temporary orders to get a 50/50 parenting plan. Otherwise, much more time will pass for (the) husband with only limited contact with the children," Robert Murphy's attorney wrote.
Court records showed Kelli Murphy got a postponement of the hearing to Wednesday.
Yet, Liam and Madigan never made it to Monday's year-end school parties.
Instead, Robert Murphy said he received a call Monday morning from Douglas County sheriff's officials saying that his wife had "killed our two children."
He made the statement in a motion for a protection order against his wife, saying he feared he was "in imminent danger from Ms. Kelli Murphy."
7NEWS has requested a history of phone calls requesting police service made from that home, but Castle Rock police have denied our request, citing the ongoing investigation.
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