CHICAGO — Two children were killed following a murder and attempted suicide in a high-rise in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood.
Police were called to the Water's Edge Apartments in the 7200 block of South Shore just before 2 a.m. Thursday. Upon arrival, officers discovered 20-year-old Aleah Newell and her 2-year-old son, Johntavious, on the ground outside the building.
Security directed officers to an 11th floor apartment where they found 70-year-old Cordell Walker with cuts on his face and body, and 7-month-old Ameer, unresponsive in a bathtub. The baby had cuts on his face and blisters from the scalding hot water.
Police said Newell stabbed Cordell before she jumped from the building. Video from the first floor shows Newell threw her toddler out the window and then jumped. She hit something on the way down, which broke her fall.
Both toddlers were pronounced dead at Comer Children's Hospital.
Newell and Cordell were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition. Neither one has regained consciousness.
The woman's family said she took pills before killing her children.
Women at the Shield of Hope Shelter, run by the Salvation Army, said Newell came to the shelter on Dec. 30 with her two boys begging for help. She was asking someone to take her children because she couldn't take care of them by herself. A woman at the shelter said, "She was clearly in need of help."
"She was like, fed up," Adrianne Thomas said. "She didn't know what to do.
Thomas said Newell was in the shelter's lunchroom saying, "I can't do it, I can't take care of them."
After seeing the news, she was devastated.
"It was wrong for them not to help her," she said. "She told us that she asked them during intake, [and said], 'Well I asked them if they could help me, and they said they couldn't help me. I had to do it on my own.'"
A spokesperson for Salvation Army said due to client confidentiality, they could not disclose the names of their clients. The spokesperson said they could neither confirm nor deny that Newell tried to use their services.
"Our prayers go out to the family impacted by this horrible tragedy," the spokesperson said.
The family said this is not the first tragedy their family has endured. Newell's brother killed himself in 2017.
Area Central detectives are investigating.
The young boys are Chicago's first homicides of 2020.