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Caseworker went to Texas home day before slayings

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[February 04, 2010]  SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A child welfare caseworker visited the home of two young brothers the day before police say their mother stabbed them to death, officials said Wednesday.

There was no indication that Elyse Marsyl Colon, 22, might harm her children when the caseworker visited the home Monday, said Mary Walker, a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokeswoman.

InsuranceAuthorities say Colon calmly surrendered to police officers outside her home Tuesday evening and told them "I killed my babies." The officers found the bodies of 3-year-old Jose Luis Garcia and 1-year-old Guillermo Garcia lying next to each other in a bed in the home.

"Words can't describe the scene," San Antonio police Chief William McManus said. "It was unspeakably sad."

After Colon was placed in the patrol car, she allegedly told police, "Their father was in jail, I want him to know."

Colon was being held Wednesday on two counts of capital murder. Her bond was set at $2 million, and she had no attorney listed in court records. She cursed at reporters while being taken to court for arraignment late Tuesday.

Caseworkers had visited the family from time to time since 2006, when Colon was accused of using drugs while pregnant with Jose Luis, Walker said. The drug tests were negative.

The agency had been helping Colon search for a job and for housing since the boys' father, Luis Alonso Garcia-Pacheco, was jailed last year on domestic abuse charges, Walker said. He has not entered a plea, and remains in Bexar County jail awaiting trial this month.

Garcia-Pacheco's attorney, Rudy Vasquez, said his client is innocent. Vasquez said he is trying to arrange for Garcia-Pacheco -- who also has a federal immigration hold against him -- to attend his children's funeral.

"He's pretty numb and he's kind of devastated," Vasquez said.

Walker said a caseworker dropped off a check with Colon's landlord on Monday before visiting the family. The caseworker talked to Colon about finding a job, and gave her a list of temporary positions that did not require experience.

Walker said she didn't know how long the caseworker stayed at the home. There were never any grounds to remove the children from the mother's care, she said.

"It appears the mother was receptive, responsive and cooperative," Walker said.

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According to public records, Garcia-Pacheco was arrested in May 2009 for illegal entry and family assault. That month, Walker said welfare officials investigated a domestic abuse complaint at the home. Colon allegedly told investigators there had been violence, but that her sons were not harmed.

"She had been battered," Walker said. "The children were not."

Colon also had been accused of wrongdoing. In June 2008, there was an indication that Colon's second son tested positive at birth for methamphetamines, but that test results were ultimately negative, Walker said. A complaint that Colon had allegedly fallen while holding her child was later recanted, Walker said.

The attack occurred less than three miles from the home where prosecutors say a woman decapitated and butchered her 3-week-old boy last summer. The woman, Otty Sanchez, is charged with capital murder. She has not entered a plea, but her attorney has said she was not mentally stable at the time of the attack.

On Colon's street, neighbor Angelica Puentes, 34, said she had talked to the woman a couple of times and said she seemed like she was in a daze.

"They can't speak for themselves, they can't defend themselves," Puentes said. "They're very vulnerable right now. She just took advantage of that for whatever reason, I don't know."

[Associated Press; By PAUL J. WEBER]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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