One of the most absolutely sickening things we read about in the news is parents who take out their rage about a relationship gone wrong on innocent children. I've watched, read, or heard about this type of story enough to know that it's not totally uncommon. Whether it's a brother allegedly killing his sister-in-law and niece and nephew, or a nanny allegedly killing her employers' children, often the children aren't the source of the person's anguish and anger. But they get punished for it. Nothing is more chilling than someone killing his or her own children to get back at a spouse. This appears to be what happened in the Bronx when a father allegedly drowned his 5-year-old son and fed his 7-year-old daughter rat poisoned pizza.

The man, Leonardo Espinal, had apparently just been kicked out of the family home and was estranged from his wife. But they were co-parenting, and he was still seeing his children -- as do most parents when they split. Reportedly the man was staying at his stepmother's home, and babysitting the children, when he called his wife to ask if the kids could stay the night. She said yes. What happened next is beyond horrible.

Awhile later, Leonardo called his wife back and threatened to kill himself. Alarmed, the mother, Rosaura Abreu, called her husband's stepmother. The stepmother checked on things and found 7-year-old Mia vomiting after eating rat poison-laced pizza, and her son locked in the bathroom with 5-year-old Stewart.

Police were called. When they got there, they broke down the bathroom door and found Stewart unconscious in his father's arms. He had apparently been drowned in the bathtub.

The mother arrived at the horrific scene just as the police were carrying out her children. She began screaming and following the police. Law enforcement sources said that Rosaura had recently begun seeing another man and this could have sent her husband over the edge. A family friend said: "I imagine that the only reason why he would do something like that is for revenge over the separation."

There's no sense in asking why a father would do this to his own children to get back at his wife. Obviously, there's just no sense involved. And we can ask ourselves why the mom would leave her kids with their father -- but she's already going to feel guilty enough. It's not like she knew this would happen. Not to mention that unless he'd made threats against the kids in the past, she couldn't have stopped him from seeing his own children. Horribly, she was probably trying to be a good co-parent by allowing her children to spend time with their dad.

Taking out your pain and anger on the children who love you and trust you and who did nothing to contribute to your relationship anger ... I can't imagine a worse betrayal.

Why do you think people kill children to get back at adults?


Image via Tex Texan/Flickr