Mother accused of family's massacre 'was very devoted to her children'


A Georgia mother accused of fatally stabbing her husband and four of her children gave a thumbs up to news cameras and took a bow during her initial court appearance. As of Thursday evening, she was in stable, but serious condition in Children's Hospital of Atlanta. Authorities also placed her under an hold for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Martinez smiled for the cameras and also put her hands together, as in prayer, with what appeared to be blood still in her fingernails and on her hand, and a bandage on her arm.

Police responded to what Cpl.

She is facing 16 counts, including five counts of murder.

At around 4:47 a.m. on Thursday, Gwinnett Police received a 911 call reporting several people stabbed in a house in Loganville, GA.

Martinez allegedly stabbed her children and husband early Thursday morning in her Loganville home, about 30 miles east of Atlanta, police said.

"We continue to pray for Diana's recovery both physically and emotionally as she learns about what happened to her father and siblings", Pihera said in a statement. According to a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for funerals and medical costs, Diana has gone through surgery and will likely remain in the hospital for a few weeks before starting physical therapy.

"My attorney is the people that we're fighting for", Isabel Martinez said through a Spanish-English translator. "Those are my attorneys, that's why I'm here".

Martinez was all smiles during her Friday court appearance, often grinning directly into cameras.

Martinez, 33, was arrested and was being held at the Gwinnett County Detention Center in Lawrenceville.

"This is her first encounter with ICE so we can not estimate how long she's been in the country; she crossed the border at an unknown time [or] location", he continued. "Nothing else matters, I am representing the people that are humble, hardworking, the people who suffer and those who have a lot of charges so they understand everything is possible with God". A Gwinnett police spokeswoman told PEOPLE that Martinez is cooperating with investigators, but officials would not reveal a motive for the killing.

"This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighbourhood and community".

Other cases get less attention, as when a woman kills a newborn or in children's deaths blamed on neglect, said Cheryl Meyer, co-author of two books on mothers who have killed children based on about 1,000 cases during the 1990s.