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Eleazar Paula MENDEZ





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: January 28, 2006
Date of arrest: Same day (suicide attempt)
Date of birth: 1962
Victim profile: Her three children, twins Samuel and Samantha Morales, 5, and Elvis Morales, 8
Method of murder: Suffocation
Location: De Queen, Sevier County, Arkansas, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to life in prison without parole on May 18, 2007

Woman Gets Life Term for Smothering Kids

Associated Press

May 19, 2007

DE QUEEN, Ark. - A woman accused of smothering her three children pleaded guilty to three counts of capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Eleazar Paula Mendez, 45, of De Queen, a Mexican national, entered the pleas Friday in Sevier County Circuit Court.

"I took life away from my three children," the Spanish-speaking Mendez said through an interpreter to Judge Ted Capeheart.

Police found the bodies of 5-year-old twins Samuel and Samantha Morales and 8-year-old Elvis Morales at Mendez' home on Jan. 28, 2006, after a call from the children's worried father, Arturo Morales, who was living in New York.

Mendez told investigators she suffocated the children, according to prosecutors. She could have faced the death penalty had the case gone to trial.

Morales did not attend Friday's hearing. The prosecutor said Morales disappeared in October after taking leave from his job in New York, and hadn't been heard from since by local authorities.


Woman pleads not guilty in deaths of kids

January 30, 2006

DE QUEEN, Ark. (AP) A woman accused of murdering her three children was distraught over the breakup of her marriage and may have fed the youngsters pesticide before smothering them, police said Monday.

Eleazar Paula Mendez, 43, pleaded innocent to three counts of murder and was jailed without bail and placed under a suicide watch. The judge also ordered a psychological evaluation.

Mendez, 43, told investigators she tried to kill herself on Friday by swallowing ant poison, prosecutor Tom Cooper said. She said the children saw her take the pesticide and asked her to kill them, too, he said.

"I blessed them and then I suffocated them," Mendez told investigators, according to Cooper.

Cooper said he believes Mendez poisoned the children before suffocating them, but he questioned other parts of her account. The children's bodies were sent to the state crime lab for autopsies.

Police found 7-year-old Elvis and 5-year-old twins Samantha and Samuel side-by-side on a bed in their home Saturday after a call from the children's worried father, Arturo Morales, 37, who lives in New York.

Mendez had left a note in Spanish saying she could not go on without her husband, the prosecutor said.

Elsewhere in the house, authorities discovered four cups on a table near a container of ant poison.

"It looked like they had been drinking some hot chocolate," Police Chief Richard McKinley said. "We also found nearby some poisoning. The poisoning was called Tempo. It was an insecticide poisoning. We also found, right by that, a mixing glass."

He said the mixing glass and the cups were also sent to a lab for tests.

Mendez had moved to the small Arkansas town about a year ago to give the children a safer environment, but her husband could not make a living and returned to New York to work.

He was supposed to visit the family in Arkansas during the Christmas holiday, but he did not show up, so Mendez took the children to New York, McKinley said. During the visit, Morales asked for a divorce, he said.

Morales met with police Monday after traveling to Arkansas. "He's having a hard time making sense of everything," McKinley said.

Mendez, who speaks limited English, listened to an interpreter through headphones during Monday's hearing. She replied "Si" when asked if she understood the court's procedures.

Prosecutors have the option of pursuing the death penalty.


Mom Accused of Smothering Kids Left Notes

By Daniel Connolly - Associated Press Writer

January 29, 2006

A mother accused of smothering her three young children left notes that officials say could help determine what led to the killings, and her priest said Sunday that she had expressed "tremendous remorse."

Paula Eleazar Mendez, 43, was in a county jail Sunday after being treated at a hospital for swallowing a toxic substance.

She had collapsed as officers arrived at her southwestern Arkansas home Saturday morning in response to a telephone call from the children's father in New York. Inside the home, the officers found the bodies of the children, ages 6 to 8, lying side by side on a bed, said Chris Brackett, an investigator with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office.

"I do not believe there is any dispute as to who killed these three children, and therefore who will be charged," prosecutor Tom Cooper said. "However, we have not determined at this time the particular homicide charge or punishment we will be seeking."

De Queen Police Chief Richard McKinley said investigators needed a translator to read the notes that were written in Spanish.

A family priest who visited Mendez in a hospital Saturday night described a woman experiencing profound sorrow.

"She has tremendous remorse. She is deeply sorry," the Rev. Salvador Marquez-Munoz said Sunday before entering St. Barbara Catholic Church for Mass. "She asked for our prayers and forgiveness because she is realizing how much she has hurt the community, as well."

He identified the children as 8-year-old Elvis and 6-year-old twins, Samanta and her brother Samuel.

Autopsies were planned to determine whether the children had been poisoned or smothered, as their mother told police, Cooper said. The children's faces were not covered when police found them.

Cooper said an emergency room doctor told him Mendez had not ingested enough of the toxic substance to kill herself. Her arraignment is expected Monday, McKinley said.

In the house's yard Sunday was a seven-foot-wide pile of burned papers. A page in a religion book bore the words "vamos a celebrar" - Spanish for "let's celebrate." A child's handwriting was scrawled in blue ink across some papers, and there were charred letters from a labor union in New York City.

The priest said Mendez, who moved to the United States from Mexico 10 years ago, had lived in New York until last summer, when she moved with her children to De Queen because wanted them to live in a safer environment.

He described her as a quiet, devout woman concerned about her children's welfare. She was not working, and her husband was supporting the family with a job in New York, he said. She and the children never missed Sunday services and attended religious education classes.

Mendez seemed "very loving," said M. Rocio Maya, 29, who attended the Mass and said she had known Mendez for a few months.

"Many times she showed me photos of her children," she said. "She showed me when she was pregnant with each one of them, photos of her husband, of the happy life that they had always lived."

She appeared to have few friends and "didn't go out on the street much," Maya said.

The children's father, Arturo Morales, 37, had planned to move to De Queen once the mortgage was paid on the house there, said Maya's husband, Juan Mosqueda.

Morales was to arrive in De Queen before a funeral was to be set.


3 Arkansas Children Found Dead at Home

The New York Times

January 29, 2006

Police found the bodies of three children lying side by side on a bed in their home Saturday after their mother said she had smothered them, investigators said.

Officers were sent to the home after the children's father, a construction worker who lives in New York, called DeQueen authorities from New York saying his wife had confessed to killing their children, 6-year-old twin boys and an 8-year-old girl.

The mother, Paula Eleazar Mendez, 43, collapsed when officers arrived and was taken to a hospital to be treated for ingesting a toxic substance, officials said. She was being guarded there until she could be taken to jail to face homicide charges.


Eleazar Paula Mendez


Eleazar Paula Mendez


Arturo Morales of New York whispers to his oldest son Elvis Morales Mendez, 7, Thursday morning February 2, 2006 at St. Barbara Catholic Church in De Queen Ark. during the visitation before the funeral later that evening.

Morales' wife, Eleazar Paula Mendez, has been charged with murder in the smothering deaths of her three children. Morales was not expected to attend the public visitation and entered the church through a side door after many of the other mourners had left.



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