An Arizona woman who killed her own children after losing a custody battle will spend the rest of her life in prison after pleading guilty to the murders on Dec. 4.
Marilyn Kay Edge, 44, killed her children, 10-year-old Faith and 13-year-old Jaelen, by smothering and drowning them in the bathroom of a Hampton Inn & Suites in Santa Ana, California, the Orange County Register reported. That was three days after a custody hearing in her ex-husband's home state of Georgia, in which a judge granted custody of the children to their father, Mark Edge.
Marilyn was ordered to bring her children to their father by Sept. 15, but drove to California, telling her children they were going on one last family vacation and would visit Disneyland and the beach.
Marilyn used diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in some cough syrups and anithistamines, to subdue her children, forensic psychologist Dr. Yong-Son Kim told the court. Faith was killed by smothering, while Jaelen was killed by a combination of smothering and drowning, Kim testified.
Police found the children in the bathtub of the hotel after Marilyn tried — and failed — to kill herself hours after committing the murders, the Orange County Register reported. Marilyn drove her Honda Accord into a steel pole that protected an electrical panel in a strip mall parking lot in Costa Mesa, according to OC Weekly, and reportedly tried to wrap a cord around her neck when first responders arrived at the scene.
After failing to kill herself, Marilyn was questioned by police, and told them where she'd killed her children. Mark, the children's father, was hospitalized after hearing the news, according to his attorney, Marian Weeks.
Mark was awarded full custody after Marilyn moved her children to Arizona so she could deny him weekly visitation, OC Weekly reported. After years of denying her ex-husband the chance to see his children, and falsely accusing him of abusing her, Marilyn was called back to Georgia for another custody hearing, which is when a judge awarded her ex-husband full custody of the kids.
"If she just let him have weekend visitation, he would be the happiest person in the world, but she couldn't do that," Weeks said of Marilyn. "It became so obvious that she would do anything to prevent visitation with her children."
Marilyn, who pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court on Dec. 4, will return to court on Jan. 8, when she will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.