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The World We Live In Part Deux

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East Haven Woman Told Police She Killed Children; Said Lord's Prayer With Them



By Alaine Griffin and Josh Kovnercontact the reporters

NEW HAVEN — An East Haven woman was charged Wednesday with murdering two of her children, and a suicide note she left at their feet provided chilling details of their last moments, including how their mother painted their nails, recited the Lord's Prayer with them and told them they were going to heaven.


LeRoya Moore, 36, was arraigned Wednesday in Superior Court in the deaths of Aleisha Moore, 6, and Daaron Moore, 7. During arraignment in Superior Court in New Haven Wednesday afternoon, Judge Karen Sequino kept Moore's bail at $2 million.


Sequino ordered that Moore be placed on a suicide watch and that she receive medical and mental health treatment while she is held at York Correctional Institution in Niantic.


An arrest warrant affidavit said that Moore told an officer who responded to her home on June 2 that, "I stabbed them. ... I released them."


Moore admitted to the officer that she opened the gas line to the house and shook her head in the affirmative when asked if she hurt the children. She had a cut on one of her wrists.

The note left at the feet of the children referred to her not wanting to leave them in the care of an institution or with a social worker. Moore had her parental rights to two of her other children taken away by the state years ago.


Portions of the letter, contained in the affidavit, said:


"I'm sure there's an expert somewhere that will say the children suffered, but I let them know they were loved very much and they were going to heaven. We said the Lord's Prayer to protect their souls. I know this was meant to end the way it did. I don't know the reason why, but we were meant to die today.


"I'm numb and if I burn for eternity I'll know why I deserve it. ... I couldn't leave any more of my kids to the system. They were in pain and now they're in heaven. I prayed and God knows my heart, he made me the way I am and knew we weren't fit for this world past this time.


"I will be cremated and the bank will [be] getting [the] house and the car. I asked God to stop me if I was making a mistake. I asked to show me I was wrong and save them. They should not be left to burden anyone because I am the only one who could love them like a mother. Not an institution or a social worker. They will be in heaven with the people who we lost and loved.


"They got to do all of the things they wanted to do before they died today. They ate their favorite things they had ice cream and they wanted to paint their nails so we got nail polish and they had fun and really liked how it came out. My older kids escaped the same fate because I was too depressed to move and make it happen. There's no more pain for [the children]. They left this world as innocent as they were when they came into it. ... I'm done. There's nothing else to say and no further explanation to give."


Despite her claim that she stabbed the children, the arrest warrant application revealed that an autopsy showed "blunt force trauma and puncture wounds were positively ruled out as a cause of death."


The medical examiner said he could not rule out suffocation or asphyxiation but toxicology results were still needed to determine exactly how the children died. The medical examiner also said he could not rule out that the children may have died of an overdose of medication or poisoning by natural gas.

Dr. James Gill, the chief state medical examiner, said Wednesday that the cause and manner of death are both "pending further study,"


East Haven police and firefighters responded to 541 Strong St. after receiving a 911 call from a friend of Moore's, who said Moore had threatened suicide


Officers entered the house in the midst of an active natural-gas leak. They located Moore and then found the dead children.


When police entered the home, they found the bodies of both children, fully clothed, lying on a blanket on the living room floor, the affidavit indicates. From the conditions of the bodies and a foul smell in the home, investigators determined the children had been dead "for an extended period of time."


During a search of the home, detectives found 46 bottles and boxes of various over-the-counter and prescription medications. These medications included sleep aids, prescription painkillers, muscle relaxants and anti-depressants.


An investigation of the home's natural gas system found there was no malfunction or leak. "It was determined that gas was intentionally turned on in this residence," the arrest warrant application said.

Moore, dressed Wednesday in a lime green shirt and jeans, showed no emotion throughout the short court hearing. At times, she whispered to Holly Arabohos, the public defender appointed to represent her at the hearing.


Sequino transferred the case to the courthouse at 235 Church St., where more serious cases are considered, and continued it to June 23.


The state Child Advocate's Office is investigating why child-protection authorities did not maintain supervision of Moore after her 2014 arrest for allegedly assaulting her ex-husband in front of the children.

Child Advocate Sarah Eagan questioned why the Department of Children and Families appears to have closed its file on Moore after the September 2014 assault case, despite Moore's history of child-endangerment charges, including a 2006 conviction for risk of injury to a minor, as well as the termination of parental rights for two children from previous relationships.


"This caregiver had an extensive history with the child welfare agency and the criminal justice system, including multiple terminations of parental rights and multiple DCF investigations over the last 10 years," Eagan said in response to an inquiry from The Courant Friday.


"There was [an] investigation in the fall of 2014 regarding suspected abuse or neglect of these two children. The 2014 case does not appear to have been kept open for ongoing supervision, and no neglect petitions were filed with the court," Eagan said.


DCF said it was conducting an internal review.


Eagan stressed that Moore's children "touched other systems beyond child welfare and judicial, including education, medical and social services. [The advocate's office] will, as part of its statutory responsibilities, examine all of the relevant state-funded systems that this family encountered on a regular basis."


Moore, who went by her maiden name of LeRoya White in December 2006, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of risk of injury to a minor in connection with beatings she administered to a daughter from a previous relationship, who was 4 years old at the time.


The following year, she married Michael Moore, and, in July 2007, gave birth to son Daaron Moore. Two years later, in 2009, the couple had a daughter, Aleisha. East Haven police found the two children dead in Moore's home.


Eagan said her office is reviewing hundreds of pages of child-protection records to pin down when DCF opened and closed cases involving Moore.


"As we learn more about the circumstances related to the death of these young children, there are undoubtedly many questions," said Eagan, adding that her inquiry will address what the system did and didn't do in this case. Eagan, whose office has subpoena power, said she couldn't comment further because of the active police investigation.




Child Advocate To Probe Lack Of DCF Supervision Of East Haven Mother


Court records show that in addition to Daaron and Aleisha, Moore had three other children with three other men.


LeRoya Moore was accused of assaulting Michael Moore, whom she had divorced two years earlier, as he picked up their two children from King Robinson Magnet School in New Haven on Sept. 26, 2014. As he was leaving the school, LeRoya Moore pulled up in a vehicle and began beeping the horn and flashing the headlights, Michael Moore reported.


When he pulled over, LeRoya Moore approached his vehicle swearing "in an extremely hostile manner," and questioning why he was late picking up the children. Michael Moore said he had been working overtime. He said she then struck him "three times with a clenched fist to his forehead area" and fled, court records said.


Both children were inside Michael Moore's vehicle during the assault.


Police applied for an arrest warrant for LeRoya Moore and contacted DCF. A family violence offense report was completed, court records said. Police arrested LeRoya Moore seven months later on April 15, and at a court hearing a Superior Court judge issued a protective order prohibiting LeRoya Moore from having contact with her ex-husband.


She was released from custody and was scheduled to appear court on the assault charge on June 22.


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