PHOENIX, Ariz. (KFOR) – The former Oklahoma resident accused of murdering her three children in Arizona has been officially charged with first-degree murder by a grand jury in Maricopa County, Ariz.
Rachel Henry, 22, was charged Tuesday on three counts of first-degree murder.
A hearing is scheduled for February 4, 2020.
Prosecutors say they are not ruling out the death penalty in the case.
Phoenix police said a woman called the Phoenix Police Department at around 7:20 p.m. on Jan. 20 and said that three children were dead inside a home in the 2500 block of E. Vineyard Road.
Police interviewed family members and learned that Henry, the mother of the children, had a methamphetamine addiction and “had been acting strange the past several days,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
Police asked Henry about the children, and she admitted to smothering them, starting with one-year-old Mireya Henry.
“Rachel was playing with the one year old female and wrestling on top of her. Rachel felt the one-year-old female’s breathing was obstructed but continued to impede her breath by placing her hand over the one-year-old female’s mouth,” the affidavit states.
Henry said at that point her oldest child, 3-year-old Zane Henry, tried to get her to stop. She said the boy yelled at her and even hit her in an attempt to help his sister.
Henry said once the one-year-old was dead, she chased Zane but was interrupted when another relative arrived at the house. She said a short time later, she took him to a back bedroom, straddled him and placed her hand over his nose and mouth.
“Rachel described singing to the three-year-old male as he [scratched] her chest and [pinched] her while she placed her hand over his nose/mouth,” the affidavit states.
Henry said she fed seven-month-old Catalaya Rios a bottle until she fell asleep. That is when she said she “sang her a song as she placed her hand over her face and impeded her breath. Rachel sang to the seven-month-old female until she became unconscious and died,” the affidavit claims.
After all of the children were dead, Henry arranged their bodies on the couch to make it look like they were taking a nap.
At least two other adults were in the home the night the children were killed, police say. It’s unclear whether they were all present at the same time.
On Jan. 21, a judge set her bond at $3 million and ordered an attorney to be appointed to her case.
In a videoconference from the jail, Henry expressed concern about the bond amount.
“I don’t know how I’m going to be able to get any money,” she said. “I don’t have a job or anything.”
Henry recently moved from Prague, Okla., to Phoenix to be closer to her children, who were living with her aunt.
Police in Prague, Okla., said they tried to protect the children from Henry in the past.
Prague Police Department officials said they were called to Henry’s apartment. Ultimately, Henry was ordered to not have contact with the children’s father.
Oklahoma authorities once ordered that the children be removed from Henry’s care for a week.
“At the time of their deaths, the children of Rachel Henry were not in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. OKDHS has been contacted by Arizona law enforcement and is cooperating fully with their efforts. Since DHS is unable to conduct an investigation into the deaths of these children, Oklahoma state law prohibits the dissemination of any information related to this matter,” DHS said in a statement to News 4.