The three children who were allegedly butchered by their “unwell” mother in California appeared in a haunting family photograph, showing them in happier times with their heartbroken father.
The chilling snapshot of the kids — ages 3, 2 and 6 months — and their dad Erik Denton, showing the eldest chasing bubbles, was posted on a GoFundMe page with the title “No words.”
“Erik Denton, a loving father of three, has lost all 3 of his children in a blink of an eye,” organizer Brandy Kirkpatrick wrote on a fundraising website after Saturday’s slayings. “His ex-girlfriend, mother of his children, murdered their 3 young children … It is more than words to describe his loss and the help that Erik needs at this time.”
Denton told the Los Angeles Times that Liliana Carrillo, 30, was supposed to hand over their three kids on Sunday, one day before the trio were found dead inside their apartment complex in the city’s Reseda section.
Initial reports showed the children were stabbed, but police have yet to confirm a cause of death, the newspaper reported Sunday.
“These were my [angels],” Denton posted on Facebook early Sunday alongside the touching photo, showing them in matching blue shirts.
Other photos from Denton’s page – including one as recent as February – shows the couple smiling and posing for the camera.
“Such a cute family!” one friend wrote.
CBS Los Angeles identified the three children as 3-year-old Joanna, 2-year-old Terry and 6-month-old Sierra.
Denton said he sought custody of the couple’s three children on March 1 in Tulare County Court after Carrillo began acting mentally unstable. He also requested a temporary emergency visitation order on March 4 – and wanted a mental health exam for Carrillo, according to court documents obtained by the newspaper.
Carrillo, in response, filed a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Denton on March 12 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Times reported.
The orders Denton sought were drawn up at a March 26 hearing and another proceeding in the case was set for April 14, according to the report.
Denton said he tried to get local authorities to get involved but was unsuccessful.
“The LAPD would not get involved,” Denton told the newspaper, adding that Carrillo was supposed to hand over their children to him on Sunday.
LAPD said there were no prior calls for cops at Carrillo’s home.
“These are the moments we carry throughout our career,” LAPD Lt. Raul Joel told the newspaper. “It’s hard to process that as a police officer.”
Carrillo was arrested hours later in Tulare County – about 200 miles away – after their grandmother discovered the children’s bodies early Saturday. Carrillo allegedly carjacked a pickup truck in Bakersfield following the triple slaying, authorities said.
Denton’s cousin, Teri Miller, told KTTV he had repeatedly reached out police and to the Department of Children and Family Services because Carrillo “needed help,” KTTV reported.
“He is so completely in shock,” Miller told the station. “He’s devastated. He was planning on picking up the kids [Sunday], taking them to buy fish for their new fish tank. He’s heartbroken. I mean, Liliana was very sick. She was not herself, and it’s been going on for several months that she has been unwell and he’s been actively doing everything possible … to one get Lilian help and two, get his children safely home.”
Carrillo left with the couple’s three children in the end of February, Miller said, but Denton was still trying to do the right thing.
“He still loved her, but she was just not herself,” Miller said. “So he’s also frustrated with the system because the system failed them. The system failed these kids.”