Mother charged with killing two Wilmington boys

Wilmington Police were at the home hours before the boys were killed Monday. The suspect, a Liberian immigrant, told officers she was worried about her immigration status.

A Wilmington woman is now behind bars after two children were found dead inside her apartment.

Kula Pelima admitted to killing two children including her biological infant son, Solomon Eppelle, and 5-year-old Alex Eppelle, to whom she’s the guardian, police said. Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy said detectives are actively trying to figure out how the children died. Tracey said 30-year-old Pelima called 911 Monday morning and stated that two children drowned at her home on 826 W. 9th Street. During that same phone call the Liberian woman eventually admitted that she killed the children, police said.

Investigators gather outside a Wilmington home were two boys were found dead Monday morning. (Kyle Bressler/WHYY)

“The officers did respond to the apartment and came in to see the children in the bathtub and saw that they were deceased,” Tracy said. He added there was also a strong odor of gas inside the home. As a result, the building was evacuated for a full and thorough investigation.

According to police, no one else was home at the time. Pelima’s boyfriend who’s also the father of the two children was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents earlier this month for immigration issues. Victor Epelle is originally from Nigeria. He’s being held in a York, Pennsylvania prison. Investigators said Pelima never explained why she harmed the children, but it appears she grew concerned about her immigration status. She is originally from Liberia, but has been in the U.S. since 1997. Police said Pelima and Epelle established residence in Wilmington within the past few months.

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“She did call 911  with concerns of her immigration status. Our officers did respond. One of our officers responded about 3:46 in the morning [on Monday], engaged the woman and ensured her that no, we’re not looking for her,” Tracey said. “We gave her the help number for the Delaware helpline that could help her with any of the issues she was having.”

Tracey said there weren’t any signs of distress during the early morning visit. “The officer saw that the child was safe, he actually spoke with the child to give the most help as possible to alleviate some of her fears and to have that tragedy, my heart and prayers go out to these two children.”

Tracy said the incident is an isolated case and the police station hasn’t experienced a large volume of calls from people concerned about their immigration status.

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