A Tempe mother is facing murder charges after her two young children were found dead early Saturday morning.
40-year-old Yui Inoue, flagged down an officer at the Apache Substation and led them to her apartment near Mill and Southern. Police say Inoue mostly spoke in Japanese. There, police found the bodies of a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. Inoue said she heard voices telling her to kill her kids, officials said.
At the scene, law enforcement discovered a large amount of blood on the floor, with the two children covered by a blanket. Officials say there were “significant injuries” to their bodies, including lacerations, cuts and amputations “consistent with a violent attack and defensive wounds.”
“Very traumatic for our officers to walk into. We’re trained to see these things,” said Sgt. Steve Carbajal with Tempe Police Department.” There is something elevated about that when it’s a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old. This should have never happened.”
Tempe Police detained, questioned Yui Inoue.. She has been arrested and accused of two counts of first-degree murder.
Officers say Inoue had blood and lacerations on her body, and there were bloodstains in her car. While searching her car, police also found a meat cleaver with a 6-inch blade inside a bag of clothes with apparent bloodstains on them.
Detectives say evidence suggested that the cleaver was used as the murder weapon.
Carbajal said investigators later learned officers had been to the same apartment just after midnight for a domestic dispute between Inoue and her husband. He said no one was arrested in connection to the fight and the two kids were safe in their beds when officers left the apartment.
“At that time everything seemed to be OK. There was no immediate information that something like this would happen,” said Carbajal. He added the father was never a suspect in the murders and that he broke down crying when he learned his two children were dead. Police say the dad had reportedly left the home at midnight because of the argument and went to sleep at his work, but after not being able to get into the building, slept in his car in the parking lot of a Wells Fargo bank. He told police she threatened to stab him after they fought over her wanting more money for her upcoming move to Japan, officials said. The husband and wife had filed for divorce but were still living in separate rooms at the time.
Inoue told police that she had woken up at 4:30 that morning with blood on her hands and arms and that her two children were already dead near the doorway of her bedroom. She reportedly said she took a bath before she drove herself to the police station.
“Inoue did not believe that she had killed the children, but said that she could not remember,” police said.
“It’s just so unfortunate that a 9- and 7-year-old that rely on their parents, especially their mother, to really care after them could have been involved in something this tragic,” Carbajal said in an interview.
According to a spokesperson for the Kyrene School District, the two children were students at Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School. The district provided the following statement:
“Kyrene School District is devastated to learn of the loss of two Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School students. While law enforcement focuses on the investigation, Kyrene is focused on supporting the Cielo community. The District has a team of professionals, trained to address the needs of students, parents and school personnel. Counselors will be available on campus, throughout this week and beyond, for any student or staff member in need of support. We ask for compassion for our Cielo community during this time of healing.”
“Moments like this remind us that life is precious and too often fleeting. Please hold your children and loved ones close. The Kyrene community has a way of coming together with love and support, and I thank you in advance for sending that love toward our Cielo families, staff and students,” Kyrene Superintendent Laura Toenjes said.