Medford mother kills twin daughters
Court documents state that Tenia Campbell killed the girls “with her hands” based on a statement made by Campbell’s mother
Suffolk County police officers’ GPS located the Medford mother accused of killing her twins, outside a Montauk County Park, on Thursday, June 27.
Upon location, police described Tenia Campbell, 24, as hysterical, screaming at officers to shoot her as she walked toward Montauk Highway from her parked vehicle. East Hampton police were able to contain and arrest Campbell and found the twin 2-year-olds, Jasmine and Jaida, in cardiac arrest in their car seats. Police made lifesaving attempts, however, upon arrival at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, they were pronounced dead.
Campbell was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, of which she pleaded not guilty in East Hampton Town Justice Court. She was held without bail and remained on 24-hour suicide watch.
A Suffolk 911 dispatcher received a call about 2:30 p.m. last Thursday from her mother, Vanessa McQueen, who was on the other line with Campbell; both calls were merged. During the 12-minute call, Campbell told the dispatcher the girls were already dead, but refused to provide details of her location, Suffolk police commissioner Geraldine Hart said at a press conference held last Friday in Yaphank.
Shortly after the call, her phone was GPS tracked and an Amber Alert was initiated. Alerts were also placed on Campbell’s license plate. However, she was found prior to the Amber Alert being issued.
East Hampton Town police officers located Campbell at the entrance of the Montauk County Park Third House Nature Center at approximately 4:05 p.m. According to officials, it was not clear whether the girls were dead by the time the call was made. The cause of death is still under investigation by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office.
Campbell was a home healthcare aide and, though there had been no known history of domestic disputes, according to police her daughters had not been to daycare in a few days.
Suffolk County Police Department, assisted by New York State Police, Suffolk County Park Rangers, Southampton Town Police and East Hampton Town Police, conducted the massive countywide search for her.
As part of the search, police visited Campbell’s mother’s home in Mastic, her home in Medford, the children’s daycare in Brentwood and current and previous places of employment in Northport and Westhampton. At that time, Campbell’s 4-year-old son was found, unharmed, with his father. The father of the twins, police said, was estranged but notified.
“This was a tough day; it’s something you cannot be prepared for and a scene you cannot imagine,” said Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone during the press conference. “I speak on behalf of all parents across the county, what happened was unimaginable and beyond tragic. Today in Suffolk County, our hearts are broken.”
“We thank our partners, who were able to locate Campbell and bring her to justice,” added Hart. “The facts are still developing, but most importantly, we offer our sincerest prayers and condolences to the Campbell family.”
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