Father Arrested for the Murder of His 3 Children After Domestic Violence Dispute

father kills three children
KCRA 3 News

Domestic violence is never an easy topic to discuss. Still, with the FBI estimating that violence will occur at some point in two-thirds of all marriages, it certainly cannot be ignored. In a heartbreaking case of violence, a California town is in mourning after a father allegedly murdered his three children during a domestic violence dispute.

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The children, ages 11, 9, and nearly 8 months, were found dead in their apartment in Sacramento, California, on Wednesday, September 13. Kelvin, Julie, and Lucas Hodges were allegedly murdered by their 32-year-old father, Robert, after he was engaged in an altercation with his wife -- their mother -- Mai Hodges, though police have not gone public with the details of how the children were killed.

More from CafeMom: What 'Big Little Lies' Gets Right About Domestic Violence 

Wednesday evening, the family's neighbors called the police to report a possible domestic violence incident. Shortly after that -- while the police were en route to the home -- another person called to report that the children were possibly dead. Once they arrived, police and first responders made attempts to save the lives of the children but all three were, unfortunately, pronounced dead at the scene. Police report that the mother was home during the time her children were killed but did not witness their deaths. There's no word yet on the extent of her injuries.

Robert Hodges was later apprehended by police on an interstate near his home around midnight on Thursday, September 14. He is now being held without bail and scheduled for a court appearance on Monday.

Frighteningly, the children's great-grandmother, Irene Aiello, said the family had no inclination that Mai was being abused by her husband. "We don't understand what happened, we really don't," she said in an interview with ABC News. "Everything appeared to be okay between the couple."

Similarly, a neighbor in the family's apartment complex commented that Hodges seemed like a good father and husband. "I never heard them fight, never heard the parents argue, ever ... I got the impression he loved his kids, got the impression the kids loved their dad," he told ABC News. 

More from CafeMom: 15 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out Against Domestic Violence 

According to officials, 14 people have been killed in Sacramento as a direct result of domestic violence -- eight of them being children -- since January. "I can't remember a year with this many children killed," said Sacramento County Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Paul Durenberger to the Sacramento Bee.

It's estimated that one in five children is exposed to intimate partner violence each year. It is important that we do whatever we can to create a dialogue around the subject of domestic violence involving both intimate partners and their children. Educating ourselves and others about the stigmas, myths, and facts surrounding these horrific acts is one of the first steps in being able to prevent them.

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