Charges against a Medford woman accused of killing her twin 2-year-old daughters by allegedly covering their mouths and noses with her hands have been upgraded to two counts of first-degree murder, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney.
The upgraded charges were unveiled Wednesday, July 10, when Tenia Campbell, 24, appeared in a Riverhead courtroom. In addition to the two counts of first-degree murder, she was also charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, the DA's Office said.
“This is an extremely tragic case,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said. “Especially as a parent, the alleged actions of this defendant are incomprehensible. While nothing can bring those girls back, we will seek justice on their behalf.”
Jasmine and Jaida Campbell were found dead in Montauk on June 27, following a two-hour search after police received a 911 call from Campbell’s mother, Vanessa McQueen, saying Tenia was threatening to kill herself and her two-year-old twin daughters.
Following the call, the Suffolk County Police Department, New York State Police, Suffolk County Park Rangers, Southampton Town Police, and East Hampton Town Police began a county-wide search for Campbell.
At approximately 4:05 p.m., East Hampton Town Police officers located Campbell and her two daughters in a vehicle at the entrance of the Montauk County Park Third House Nature Center, located at 1929 Montauk Highway. Campbell allegedly stated to police that she had killed the children.
The officers took Campbell into custody and attempted life-saving efforts on her two children.
The children were taken by Montauk Ambulance to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital where they were pronounced dead.
An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner on the twins determined the cause of death to be homicidal violence consistent with manual asphyxia.
Campbell, who pleaded not guilty, was remanded without bail. She is due back in court on August 7.
If convicted, Campbell faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
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