A Fort Wayne, Indiana, woman faces 130 years in prison after pleading guilty to smothering her two kids.
Amber Pasztor, 30, pleaded guilty, claiming to be mentally ill, to two counts of murder on Thursday. Pasztor, who didn’t have legal custody, abducted Liliana Hernandez, 7, and Rene Pasztor, 6, from her father’s home on September 26. Amid an Amber Alert, the mother took the kids to a restaurant and a park before smothering them with her hands. Amber flagged down an officer behind the Elkhart Police Station and told him that her two kids were dead in the back seat, according to WSBT.
“I gave them a choice,” Amber told WANE in an exclusive interview. “They could live traumatized like their mom or they can go to heaven with God and be better off.”
Amber claimed she had to send Hernandez and Rene to heaven because she believed someone was going to hurt them. Amber said she couldn’t bear to shoot them so she smothered them instead.
The Associated Press previously reported that Amber told detectives that she feared a Mexican cartel was targeting her and her children after they “hacked the children’s father to pieces.”
Rene Hernandez, the children’s father, was found dead in a remote area in Whitley County in 2010. Investigators couldn’t determine a cause of death because his body was ripped apart by feral dogs, authorities told People.
The family told the magazine that Amber lost custody of her kids two years ago due to supposed substance abuse issues and threats against the children’s wellbeing. Amber’s mother, Leanne Pasztor, claimed the kids were afraid of her—and described their mother as “evil.”
The Journal Gazette reported that Amber underwent three psychological evaluations to figure out whether she could assist in her defense. On Thursday, an Elkhart County judge ruled the 30-year-old was competent to stand trial.
Amber is also believed to have stolen the car from neighbor Frank Macomber—whose body was found near his home. She supposedly admitted to shooting the neighbor several times. The Allen County Prosecutor’s Office is still investigating his death and hasn’t filed any charges, according to WSBT.
Sentencing his scheduled for June 29.
[Featured Image: Allen County Sheriff (left and right)/Elkhart Police Department (center)]