Mother of Twins Killed Thursday Arraigned in East Hampton; Held Without Bail

Tenia Campbell is escorted to her arraignment Friday morning. Kyril Bromley photos.

UPDATE: 12:28 p.m.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said on Friday during a press conference at Suffolk County Police Headquarters in Yaphank  that Ms. Campbell got out of her car at the entrance to Third House at Montauk County Park on Thursday and  screamed at responding officers, telling them to shoot her.

Ms. Hart also said Ms. Campbell told police during a three-way call prior to stopping at the Montauk park that her twin daughters were already dead.

“This is a tough day,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at the press conference. “What happened yesterday is incomprehensible to us … it’s unimaginable and beyond tragic.”

Ms. Hart said the three-way call between Ms. Campbell, her mother and the police was made shortly after the mother called 911 and said her daughter was threatening to kill herself and her twin 2-year-olds.

Ms. Campbell, who would not say where she was, was described as sounding “hysterical” during the call, Ms. Hart said.

An Amber Alert was initiated, but it did not get sent out because Ms. Campbell had already been found using GPS through her phone company.

The commissioner added that the twins were found in their car seats under cardiac arrest. Police would not say exactly how the chidren died, only that it was under investigation.
According to Ms. Hart, the twins showed no outward sign of trauma and autopsies were to be performed on Friday.

UPDATE: Friday, 10:40 a.m.

Tenia Campbell was arraigned on two counts of murder in the second degree on Friday morning before East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky. She faces 25 to years to life in prison on each count.

Judge Tekulsky ordered her held, without bail, at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside. Ms. Campbell, dressed in a black skirt and sandals, did not speak in court on Friday. Judge Tekulsky entered a “general denial” of the charges against Ms. Campbell on her behalf and ordered her to be held under special suicide and medical care watch.

Her case will be heard again in East Hampton Justice Court on July 3, after which it will be transferred to the Suffolk County Criminal Court, according to Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly, the head of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s homicide bureau. Ms. Campbell, who works as a healthcare aide, will not be required to appear in court again until she is arraigned in the county court next month.

“Pursuant to the criminal procedure law of the State of New York, she is required to be remanded today and held for the action of the grand jury—that’s all that happened today,” Ms. Kelly said, speaking outside the East Hampton Justice Court on Friday morning. “The District Attorney’s office is working in conjunction with the Suffolk County [Police Department] homicide squad.”

Ms. Kelly said that Ms. Campbell will be held in a special section of the county jail for inmates who are considered a threat to themselves.

Ms. Campbell’s 5-year old son is in the custody of his father, Ms. Kelly said.

UPDATE: Thursday, 11:30 p.m.

Suffolk County Police announced late on Thursday night that they had arrested Tenia Campbell, 24, of Medford, and charged her with second-degree murder in the deaths of her twin 2-year-old girls, Jasmine and Jaida Campbell.

Police said a woman called 911 at approximately 2:30 p.m. and told the operator that her daughter, Ms. Campbell, was threatening to kill herself and her daughters. The Suffolk County Police Department, assisted by the New York State Police, Suffolk County Park Rangers, Southampton Town Police and the East Hampton Town Police, conducted a county-wide search, and East Hampton Town police officers found Ms. Campbell at the entrance to Montauk County Park at Third House at approximately 4:05 p.m., according to county police. The officers took Ms. Campbell into custody and attempted life-saving efforts on her children, who were taken by Montauk Ambulance to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital ,where they were pronounced dead.

Ms. Campbell will be held overnight at the East Hampton Town Police Headquarters and arraigned at East Hampton Town Justice Court on Friday, June 28.

Original Story

Twin 2-year-old girls were pronounced dead at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital on Thursday afternoon after they were found unconscious in their mother’s car in Montauk, following a search that spanned Suffolk County.

The children’s mother, a Medford woman who is now in police custody in East Hampton, had been reported as suicidal by a 911 caller earlier in the day, sparking the search.
The woman’s vehicle was located on Thursday afternoon by East Hampton Town Police in the vicinity of Third House at Montauk County Park and the children were found inside, suffering from cardiac arrest, according to the Suffolk Police Department Homicide Division.
Police officers and emergency personnel were seen performing CPR on the children as they were loaded in Montauk Fire Department ambulances and taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, with police escort.

Both girls were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police have not yet identified the woman or the children or announced what charges, if any, are to be filed against the mother.