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The New York Post
By Lorena Mongelli, Lia Eustachewich and Laura Italiano
June 28, 2019 1:03pm
The Long Island mom charged with murdering her two-year-old twin daughters admitted, “I killed them with my bare hands,” court papers revealed Friday, a day after the girls were found lifeless in the family minivan in Montauk.
Tenia Campbell had described the fates of Jasmine and Jaida in a distraught phone call to her mother, while driving east on Thursday afternoon from her home in Medford — toward the ocean, where she hoped to throw herself in the water and join her little girls “in heaven,” the court papers say.
“All Tenia would say was that it’s too late, I killed my babies and now I have to be with them,” Cambell’s mother, Vanessa McQueen, 48, of Mastic Beach, told Suffolk County police in a signed statement recounting the tragedy.
“At one point she said she was going to find the ocean and walk into it and drown, so she could be with her babies in heaven,” McQueen told cops.
Campbell’s mom kept her hysterical daughter on the phone throughout the afternoon, her statement reveals, as a massive, county-wide search for the hysterical woman and her little girls was mounted by Suffolk cops, New York State Police, Suffolk County Park Rangers, Southampton Town Police and the East Hampton Town Police.
Cops found the suicidal mom at Montauk County Park just after 4 p.m. Campbell was standing outside her blue, 2001 Chrysler Town and Country minivan.
Jasmine and Jaida were inside the van, in their car seats, in cardiac arrest, officials said.
“Tenia had parked her car near the entrance of the park, walked to Montauk Highway and started screaming at responding officers to shoot her,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said at a press conference.
Campbell, a home health aide who also has a 4-year-old son, has a lifelong history of depression and anxiety, and had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder as a teenager, the mom said.
She was arraigned on two counts of murder Friday and held without bail.
She has been on suicide watch since being taken into custody, officials said.
Campbell filled her Facebook page with photos of her children. When the girls turned 1 last year, she wrote, “In they first year they have managed to stress me out to maximum capacity and still make me extremely happy. Such a blessing and a headache it is to have twins. I love you girls till the death of me.”
The post included photos of Jasmine and Jaida wearing colorful tutus and sucking on lollipops.
The boy was found safe with his father on Thursday.
Hart said the girls hadn’t shown up to day care in Brentwood in the days leading up to their deaths. She said the twins were estranged from their father.
“There was no relationship with the girls but he’s been notified,” Hart said.
Officials have not said how the girls died but there were no obvious signs of trauma. Autopsies are scheduled for Friday.
“Obviously it’s an unspeakable tragedy-the act of a mother harming her own kids. We’ll be looking at my client’s mental health during this time,” Campbell’s lawyer, John Halverson said in a statement.
He declined further comment, except to confirm Campbell is on suicide watch.