WILMINGTON (CBS) — A Delaware mother has been arrested in the deaths of her 4-month-old son and his 5-year-old brother.
Kula Pelima, 30, appeared before a judge Tuesday morning on charges in connection with the deaths of two boys – 5-year-old Alex Epelle and her 4-month-old son Solomen Epelle.
Police say Pelima drowned the two boys on Monday in her Wilmington home.
She has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
These charges come 24 hours after police conducted a well-being check on the children.
Police say they were called there by Pelima, who made statements to police that she may have harmed her children.
When officers walked in the home, they saw the lifeless bodies of the boys in the bathtub.
Victor Epelle, the father of the two children, is currently behind bars after being removed from the home by federal authorities over his immigration status.
“The father at this time is incarcerated in York, Pennsylvania. He was picked up on an ICE incident, the federal authorities picked him up Oct. 6, and he’s still incarcerated. We made a notification, he is the biological father of both the children,” said Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy.
Police say Pelima was worried about her own status in the United States and called authorities around 3:45 a.m. on Monday, five hours before allegedly killing the children. She was here on a visa and she was possibly worried she would be removed by ICE.
“We also did receive a call about 3:46 in the morning,” said Tracy. “The officer actually saw the 5-year-old in the apartment and there was no distress.”
Tracy added, “”He engaged the woman, assured her that we are not looking for her, gave her the help number for the Delaware help line to help her with any of the issues that she’s having. ”
Police cannot, at this time, say Pelima’s immigration concerns were the motive for allegedly murdering the two little boys she was raising.
Pelima is an immigrant from Liberia who came to the U.S. in 1997.
She is being held on $2 million cash bail.