Bail was set at $3 million for an Olympia woman accused of trying to kill her three young children.
Christina Eva Booth, 28, appeared Monday in Thurston County Superior Court and is expected to be formally charged this week with three counts of first-degree attempted murder of a child. Arraignment is set for Feb. 10.
Booth, who has no criminal history, was arrested Sunday morning at her home in the 2500 block of 10th Court Southeast in Olympia. At the scene, police discovered that 6-month old twins and a 2-year-old child were bleeding from lacerations on their throats.
The children underwent surgery at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma. Olympia Police Lt. Jim Costa said the children were in stable condition and were no longer on life support.
Police interviewed the suspect’s husband, Thomas Booth, and determined he was not involved in the injuries to the three children, Costa said. The husband is an active-duty solider with the 1st Special Forces Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and may have saved the children’s lives by trying to stop their bleeding before medical help arrived, Costa said.
The case is still under investigation. Costa said there were discrepancies between the couple’s accounts of what happened late Saturday and early Sunday, but does not expect that the father will be arrested.
“It’s clear enough to say that stress is a factor in the whole thing,” Costa said Monday. “Something pushed her to the breaking point.”
Interviews with detectives revealed that Christina Booth was under stress from raising the children, and that she had been taking medication for postpartum depression, according to court documents.
On the night the children were injured, the couple had been drinking wine and watching a movie together. Before the movie ended, Christina Booth took the oldest child upstairs and put her to bed, but “hit her breaking point” when the twins started crying, according to documents.
That’s when she used a knife from the kitchen to cut each child’s throat, according to documents.
Booth told detectives that her husband gets upset whenever the children cry or make noise, and said he never helps with the children. Booth said she knew if she killed all of the kids, the house would be quiet for her husband, according to court documents.
During the interview with detectives, she admitted she was attempting to kill the children, and broke down crying while commenting several times that “they will be quiet now,” according to documents.
At Monday’s hearing, the court appointed public defender Sara Hixson to represent Booth. Judge James Dixon said that Booth is presumed innocent of all charges unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution.
“They are allegations,” Dixon said Monday about the charges. “They are not facts.”
Postpartum depression occurs in about 15 percent of births, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. With the condition, the mother experiences a drop in hormone levels, which can lead to mood swings. Sleep deprivation can worsen the condition, and the feelings of sadness or anxiety can interfere with the mother’s ability to care for herself or children, the institute reports.
Other symptoms of postpartum depression can include withdrawing from friends and family, experiencing anger or rage, and thinking about self-harm or harming the baby. Postpartum depression usually requires treatment and differs from “baby blues,” which describes the mild feelings of unhappiness and fatigue that can follow childbirth, according to the institute.