A Connecticut mom, who was found dead at her home on Wednesday along with her three children had strangled them before taking her own life in a triple-murder suicide, police said on Thursday. Sonia Loja, 36, killed her three children Junior Panjon, 12, Joselyn Panjon, 10, and Jonael Panjon, 5, at a daycare center she ran out of her home, police confirmed.
Police also said that the daycare center, where the horrific crimes took place was illegally run by Loja. According to neighbors, the bodies were found after Pedro Panjon, the husband, requested a wellness check because he hadn't heard from his wife all day.
Gruesome Triple-Murder Suicide
Panjon reached home after calling the police for a wellness check only to reach home to find his entire family dead. Neighbors said that Panjon "fainted to the ground" after discovering his kids' bodies.
It is not known what led to the triple-murder suicide and police have launched an investigation. The three children's bodies were discovered inside the house and seemed to have been strangled.
"Pending an official autopsy, preliminary findings indicate that Ms. Loja strangled her three children before killing herself," Danbury police said in a statement to The Post. "However, this is still an active investigation."
According to reports, Loja, who operated a childcare center out of the house where the bodies were found, called parents on Wednesday and asked them not to leave their kids with her, the same day the mother killed her three children before taking her own life.
"Yesterday morning, just before 10, a guy came to drop off his kid and she came to the door and said, 'No, sorry, I can't watch him today,'" Loja's Danbury neighbor Elvis EspaÃ±ol told The New York Post on Thursday.
"She explained that she'd called all the rest of them, all the rest of the parents of the kids she watches, and she couldn't get a hold of one, to tell them not to come that day."
That evening, when police arrived at the site on Whaley Street in Danbury, they discovered the 36-year-old mother's body in a shed in the rear and the bodies of the three children inside the home.
Neighbors said Panjon was the one who found the children's bodies. He frantically and tearfully called 911 and then collapsed in the yard.
Police Still Clueless
The motive behind the murders and suicide is still unknown. Loja and her three kids lived at the home with two other adults - who were not at the address when police arrived on Tuesday evening.
'Pending an official autopsy, preliminary findings indicate that Ms. Loja strangled her three children before killing herself. However, this is still an active investigation," Detective Captain Mark Williams said in a statement on Thursday.
"Investigators had learned that the mother and children lived at the residence with two other adults, who were not present when the police arrived. They and other extended family members have been contacted and advised of the incident."
According to a neighbor, Panjon had left the house on Wednesday morning at about 6 a.m. to go to his landscaping work. Nearly four hours later, his brother, who also resides there, left for work, but according to neighbor Elvis Espinal, "didn't see anything weird."
According to neighbors, Loja ran an illegal daycare out of a home with playground equipment in the backyard.
While the bodies of the three children were found in the daycare, Loja was found hanging in the shed. "What was she thinking?" said one neighbor, whose property abuts the home. The family had been there four or five years and were "quiet," Espinal added.
"So yeah, we'd say 'Hi' and wave but they kept to themselves," he said. "They had parties on the weekends, picnics. Just family. They kept the yard nice, they built that shed."
Espinal reported that Loja did not exhibit any emotional discomfort. "She was even-tempered. My mom even said, she never noticed anything abnormal about her," he said. "She was always nice to me. No attitude or anything. The kids were always very friendly well behaved."
Following the murder, Panjon tweeted pictures of Loja and their three children on social media along with a black ribbon bearing the Spanish inscription "Rest in Peace, now you are in a better place with God."