Story posted - Online Athens

Woman despondent over failed relationship shoots triplets, then self

By Michael Rubinkam
Associated Press

   PHILADELPHIA - Miguellina Estevez had been alone with her 2-year-old triplet sons since the boys' father moved out, apparently returning to the Dominican Republican and another woman. She was 19, had no job and spoke little English.
   On Monday, after trying to buy rat poison to kill herself and the boys, police say she shot each of her sons in the head with a semiautomatic pistol and then turned the gun on herself. Police found her body in the second-floor bedroom of her rowhouse and two of her sons dead nearby. The third boy was hospitalized in critical condition.
   The boys were identified as Franklin, Frankelly and Fabian, or "Franky." Fabian survived the shooting but was declared brain dead by doctors at St. Christopher's Hospital Tuesday afternoon. Hospital officials said he remains on life support.
   The tall, thin woman had come here three years ago from the Dominican Republic with her boyfriend, Franklin Sanchez.
   About two months ago, recalled a friend, Joselyn Perez, Estevez became despondent after finding another woman's underwear in Sanchez's suitcase.
   Confronted with the evidence, Sanchez said he was leaving her to marry the other woman in the Dominican Republic, Perez said.
   Estevez was devastated. She went to Perez's hair salon almost every afternoon to commiserate.
   "It's difficult when you're 19," said Perez, 32. "She just needed to talk to us."
   Earlier this month, her mood brightened a little after Sanchez called and said he wanted to work things out.
   On Saturday, however, Estevez went to Paulina's Grocery and asked for rat poison, saying she wanted to kill herself.
   The storekeepers, Lauro Paulina and his wife Marguerita Diaz, told her they didn't have any.
   "Then she said she wanted to go to Roosevelt Boulevard and throw herself in front of the cars, take her children with her," Marguerita Diaz said in Spanish.
   Diaz told her to seek help.
   The next day, Estevez went back to the hair salon, but instead of discussing her problems, she talked about remodeling her house.
   A family friend, Francisco Rodriguez, said Estevez called Sanchez's relatives early Monday, begging them to make her an appointment with a psychiatrist. He said she apparently got an appointment for Wednesday, but he didn't know any details.
   Later, Monday, police say, Estevez placed two of her children on a bed and shot each once in the head, then put the third boy on the floor next to her and shot him in the head, and finally shot herself.
   "I don't understand it," Perez said Tuesday. "I couldn't sleep last night."
   Police said they were trying to locate Sanchez.