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Woman stabs two daughters and herself at Westminster house

The 5-year-old underwent surgery and is in an induced coma. The mother, 38, and her 3-year-old are in stable condition.

September 17, 2009|My-Thuan Tran

A woman stabbed her two young daughters, critically wounding one, before trying to kill herself Wednesday morning while staying at a relative's Westminster home, police said.

Thuy Le, 38, and her 3- and 5-year-old daughters were spending the night at her cousin's, one-story home on Starsia Street, police said. Le and the girls slept on a spare mattress in the living room, said her cousin, Toan Pham, 51.

Shortly before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Pham said he was awakened by children screaming.

Pham ran into the living room and saw his 5-year-old niece crying and bleeding. He asked her why she was bleeding, but he said she could not talk. Le was holding her youngest child, and both were covered in blood, he said. Pham's wife frantically called 911.

Le admitted to officers that she stabbed her children and then tried to kill herself, said Westminster Police Officer Van Woodson. All three were taken to UC Irvine Medical Center.

Pham expressed shock as police investigators swarmed his house. He said the knife Le used came from his kitchen drawer.

"We don't know why this happened," Pham said. "My cousin really loves her children. There is no way I could have ever imagined this could happen."

Pham said that his cousin asked to spend the night at his house, as she has done once before. Pham said Le had been having financial difficulties stemming from a massage therapy business that she recently was forced to sell.

He said he could tell that Le was troubled by her money problems, but did not know if that contributed to the stabbings.

"I feel terrible that my nieces had to suffer so much," he said. "And to have this happen in my house."

The 5-year-old underwent surgery and is in an induced coma, Woodson said. Hospital officials are hopeful that she will survive, he said. Le and her 3-year-old daughter are in stable condition.

Woodson said Le will be booked on suspicion of attempted murder when she is released from the hospital.

"We still don't know what drove her to this crime of trying to kill her kids," Woodson said.

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my-thuan.tran@latimes.com

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