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3 children dead after woman tries to stab 7 inside burning home, Georgia sheriff says

The victims were 9 months to 5 years old, the sheriff's office said. Their mother, Darlene Brister, is charged with murder.

Three children, including a 9-month-old baby, are dead and their mother is charged with murder after she tried to stab her kids inside a burning home, officials in Georgia said.

The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that authorities received a call about a domestic disturbance and a house fire in the 770 block of Woodwind Drive in Rockmart at 9:19 p.m. Friday. The caller indicated a woman inside the residence was trying to stab the occupants, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Rockmart is about 50 miles northwest of Atlanta.

The sheriff's office and firefighters rescued the occupants and extinguished the blaze, the sheriff’s office said.

Seven children were found in the home.

A 3-year-old with “multiple apparent stab wounds” and a 9-month-old were pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff's office said.

Three other children, ages 5, 9 and 11, were taken to hospitals with injuries. The nature of their injuries was not clear Monday.

The 5-year-old died later. The 9-year-old remains in critical but stable condition, officials said. The status of the 11-year-old was not disclosed.

Two other children, 14 and 16, did not appear to have injuries, the sheriff’s office said.

Darlene Brister, 40, identified as the mother of the children involved, was found on the property and taken into custody. She was taken to the Paulding County Detention Center on two counts of malice murder and was being held without bond. Officials said additional charges are “imminent.”

Lawyer information for her was not immediately available.

Neighbors said some children jumped out of a second-story window to escape the chaos, NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta reported.

Edward Springer, who lives across the street, said that the family had lived there for years and that he hadn’t seen any problems. 

“They stayed to their self, kids come outside to play," he told the station. They were "very good, very respectful,” he said, adding, “I just don’t understand it."

Brister's husband, Ricky Brister, told WXIA that his wife was dealing with mental health issues. 

The investigation, led by the sheriff’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, continues.