SACRAMENTO (AP) — The father suspected of killing his three children in West Sacramento is cooperating with investigators, though they still aren’t offering a motive for the slayings, authorities said Friday.
Robert William Hodges, 32, was interviewed by investigators after he was found near midnight Thursday parked alongside Interstate 80 about seven miles from the apartment where police found the three children following a domestic violence call. Police previously said Hodges was 33.
“I don’t know what they gleaned from that interview. I don’t know what the motive was,” said West Sacramento police Sgt. Roger Kinney.
Hodges is being held for arraignment Monday on suspicion of three counts of murder in the slayings of 11-year-old Kelvin Hodges, 9-year-old Julie Hodges and Lucas Hodges, nearly eight months. Prosecutors expect to file formal charges Monday, said Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven.
A message left at a telephone number linked to Hodges’ parents was not returned. Authorities said he does not yet appear to have a lawyer.
Hodges also is being held on suspicion of attempted murder in the assault on his wife, Mai Hodges, which Kinney says reflects the seriousness of the attack.
“She didn’t go to a hospital but what he did to her was significant enough that it did merit a charge of attempted murder from our investigators,” Kinney said.
On Friday, CBS Sacramento reported that the mother of the three children allegedly slain by their father released a statement.
“There’s many stories out there that aren’t true of what happened. I still can’t get it out of my head. For those that know Robbie know he was once a loving and caring father and husband. I was never in an abusive marriage. I don’t know what went thru his mind and his heart to do this. I would never have imagine he is capable of something like this.”
Family members were also still struggling Friday with what triggered the slayings.
Mai Hodges’ sister, Lyang Xvang, said the family was not aware of any problems between the couple. Police said they had no history of calls to the family’s apartment, and Hodges had no significant criminal history.
“They love each other very much,” Xvang told The Associated Press in a Facebook messenger exchange. “Before baby Lucas was born, Robert loved my little girl so much. I just don’t understand how he made this choice.”
Hodges’ wife was the one who initially called police about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday to report that she had been assaulted as she returned home, Kinney said. A “very emotional, very upset” witness then called moments later, while officers were still en route, to report “there are three possibly deceased juveniles in that apartment.”
Hodges left as officers were on their way. Kinney couldn’t say when the children were killed or if they were already dead when his wife arrived home and was assaulted. He said the mother was close by when the killings occurred but didn’t witness the killings.
Mai Hodges is talking with investigators as she is able while she recovers and deals with her grief, Kinney said.
“It may take some days to get a really good statement from her,” he said. “I’m sure she’s going through a rollercoaster of emotions, so we’re getting what we can out of her as she’s able to communicate.
“She is doing the best she can, considering her three kids were murdered, and she has lots of community support,” he added. That was illustrated, he said, by the roughly 2,000 people who attended a candlelight vigil Thursday at an elementary school attended by the two older children.
Police and district attorney’s investigators planned to work through the weekend as they prepared for Hodge’s first court appearance.
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