Cops: Mother killed twins, tried to kill self

Police remove the bodies of twin toddlers at their home on Ditman Street in Tacony. STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Police remove the bodies of twin toddlers at their home on Ditman Street in Tacony. STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Posted: May 25, 2012

Updated at 9 a.m. Friday

"I harmed my babies."

That’s what a 41-year-old Tacony mother, bleeding from self-inflicted wounds to her wrists, told police when they arrived at her house on Ditman Street near Levick on Thursday.

Police said the woman, identified by neighbors and in property records as Stacey Newkirk, smothered one of her 18-month-old twins and drowned the other in what sources say may have been a jealous rage over an affair she believed her husband was having with a family member. The woman also attempted to poison her 4-year-old daughter and then tried to kill herself, police said.

Her husband, the children’s father, called police when he arrived home to find his wife distraught and the bodies of the twins -- identified Friday morning as Adam and Eve Smalls --limp and lifeless on the bed in the front bedroom.

A note next to each child read, "This is why I killed your kids," and detailed her allegations of the husband’s affair, sources said.

Both twins were pronounced dead at the scene at 4:10 p.m. The 4-year-old, whose name has not been released,  was rushed to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where she was listed in stable but guarded condition Thursday night as doctors worked to determine what substance she’d been given.

An eerie chorus of gasps swept the block when two crime-scene investigators, cradling the tiny, sheet-wrapped bodies, made their way down the walkway to a van.

"What was so bad that you did that?" asked neighbor Adrienne Birnie, 30, a mother of three young children. "If you can’t take it, give your kids to a neighbor."

Neighbors described Newkirk as a pleasant woman, and said they were shocked when they heard of the ghastly scene.

Later Thursday, Celiness Espinosa, 36, stood in her doorway looking at a fresh memorial that popped up at the top of her neighbor’s porch steps — a single white candle and a red rose placed on the porch where she said Newkirk often sat with her children. A child’s chalk-drawn sunshine marked the concrete. Espinosa’s son Ryan, 13, added two pink flowers to the memorial.

She said that she often spoke with Newkirk but that she never picked up on any problems.

"What went wrong, I don’t know," she said. "I don’t even want to imagine."

Contact Morgan Zalot at 215-854-4928, zalotm@phillynews.com or on Twitter @MorganZalot.

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