Police: NJ mom stabbed son, self over custody fear


Published: Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 8:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 8:24 p.m.

BERGENFIELD, N.J. A New Jersey mother whose inability to understand English apparently misled her to believe that her children would be taken away stabbed her 8-year-old son with a steak knife, then tried to kill herself, police said.

Elida Marroquin was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, child endangerment and weapons offenses following Saturday's incident at the family's home in Bergenfield. Bail was set at $500,000, and both she and the child were expected to recover from their wounds.

Authorities were still working to confirm what country Marroquin is from and other personal details about her. More information was expected to be made public when she is arraigned on Monday.

Authorities said the 37-year-old married mother of three, who does not read English well, grew stressful and mistakenly feared she would lose custody of her children after receiving several letters from their school in recent weeks.

"It seems to us that this may have been something that has been building up the last couple of weeks," Bergenfield Police Detective John Casper told The Record of Bergen County. "She was under the impression that at some point her children were going to be taken from her," despite numerous reassurances from her husband that she had nothing to be concerned about.

Bergenfield Schools Superintendent Michael Kuchar said district officials reviewed the letters that were sent home to the family and found nothing that would support Marroquin's concerns. He said the documents included a field-trip form and a school progress report.

Marroquin allegedly attacked the boy late Saturday morning while he was on his parents' bed, playing video games with his 2-year-old sister nearby. Marroquin's husband was not home at the time, authorities said.

The boy screamed when he saw the knife, causing his 12-year-old sister to run into the room, and Marroquin then stabbed him in the stomach, police said. The boy ran from the room and was followed by his older sister, who had grabbed the younger girl.

The children fled the residence and ran to the apartment of their upstairs neighbor, who called the police. Meanwhile, the older girl returned to the family's apartment to get paper towels, which she used to stop her brother's bleeding.

After stabbing her son, authorities say Marroquin turned the knife on herself, cutting her neck and abdomen.

She and her son were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, where doctors removed the boy's gall bladder and treated his mother for a puncture wound to the neck. Both remained hospitalized on Sunday, and the mother will soon undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Marroquin's two daughters are temporarily staying with a family friend, and the state Division of Youth and Family Services is involved in the investigation.

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