4 Young Children, Including Infant, Dead in House Fire; Mother Charged With Malice Murder: Update

A fourth child is dead after a chaotic Friday night in which a Georgia mother was attempting to stab her children while their house burned around them.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, 40-year-old Darlene Brister was charged with two counts of malice murder when deputies and firefighters arrived and found two children dead.

Three more children were rushed to hospitals, where one died shortly after arrival and the fourth died overnight, officials said.

Investigators found seven children in all at the house. Paulding County officials said the fifth child who was taken to the hospital was released with minimal injuries and two more escaped without injury.

According to WGCL, an infant and a child between 3 and 5 years old were found dead with burns at the top of the stairs in the home. A child aged 5 to 6 was taken to Grady Hospital with burns over 75 percent of their body, and another between 7 and 8 years old was taken to Wellstar Cobb Hospital. Both of those children died from their injuries.

Three other children between the ages of 14 and 16 jumped from a second floor window, with one of them briefly hospitalized with an ankle injury.

Deputies found Brister in the home’s back yard and arrested her. She remained charged with two counts of malice murder Sunday afternoon, according to jail records, but Paulding County officials said more charges are likely.

Police said a neighbor called 911 at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, telling dispatchers about a domestic disturbance at the home in which a woman was trying to stab the occupants of the house while it was on fire.

The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the state fire marshal’s office are investigating the incident.

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[Featured image: Darlene Brister/Paulding County Sheriff’s Office]