What we now know about stabbing deaths of father, 4 kids in Gwinnett

It’s been two weeks since a father and four children were stabbed to death inside their Gwinnett County mobile home. And as more details are released, the already horrific crime spree becomes even harder to fathom. Why would the suspect, a 33-year-old Mexican national, kill her family?

The motive remained unknown Thursday. But details provided by the lone witness who survived the attack helped piece together the story that shook a small Loganville community. Here are key facts we now know about the stabbings: 

1. Isabel Martinez was grieving after her father’s death. Her father had died several weeks before, but Martinez had been unable to travel to Mexico for his funeral. Neighbors noticed a change in her demeanor, but 9-year-old Diana Romero later told a case worker with the state Division of Family and Children Services her family had just returned from a trip to Savannah. She and her family had played on the beach, Diana said, and her parents didn’t fight during the trip. Diana didn’t notice anything different about her mother when the family returned, but Martinez told investigators more. 

RELATED: Victim describes her mother’s deadly attack

ALSO: Woman accused of killing family acts bizarre in court

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2. Martinez felt a “devil-like spirit" while in Savannah. As she stood by the ocean, Martinez felt as though the waves were trying to take her and her five children away, according to the DFCS report. Back home in Loganville, most of her family was asleep when Martinez went into the kitchen and got a knife in the early-morning hours of July 6, according to Diana. 

3. She was calm during the stabbings, her daughter said. Martinez was not crying or screaming when she stabbed each of her family members, the DFCS report states. Her father tried to stop her mother, but was unable to, Diana said. Before stabbing Diana, Martinez told her she was going to the sky to see Jesus. Diana told her mother she did not want to go see Jesus, she told a case worker. 

4. Martinez moved the bodies into one room. Diana was stabbed multiple times, but survived the attack. Her father and siblings did not. Killed were Martin Romero, 33, 23-month-old Axel, 4-year-old Dillan and 7-year-old Dacota Romero and 10-year-old Isabela Martinez, according to police. Martinez also cut herself before calling police, according to Diana. Before police arrived, Martinez moved the bodies into one room, the DFCS report states. 

5. Someone else killed her family, Martinez says. During an interview at the Gwinnett jail, Martinez says a family friend killed her husband and children, but she didn’t give his name. She also told a DFCS case worker that the family friend cut her too. During her first court appearance after her arrest, Martinez smiled for the cameras and flashed two thumbs up while telling a judge she didn’t want an attorney. The judge asks her to control her behavior in the courtroom and assigned her an attorney. Earlier this week, the attorney said he cancelled his request that Martinez undergo a psychological evaluation, but may reconsider it later.          

The funeral mass for victims of a brutal slaying — Martin Romero, 33, and four of his children — was conducted in Spanish, at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. The family is expected to issue a statement to the media before the services. (Video by Hyosub Shin / AJC)

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