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“I gave them a choice,” says Amanda Pasztor.

A mother in Fort Wayne, Indiana has admitted to killing her children so they could “go to heaven with God and be better off.”

Amanda Pasztor told Fort Wayne television reporter Brett Thomas that she smothered her seven-year-old daughter, Liliana Hernandez, by covering her mouth and nose with her hands until she stopped breathing. Pasztor said she then smothered her six-year-old son, Rene Pastzor, after he told her he “wanted to go with” his sister.

“I don’t think they were safe,” said Pasztor. “My kids are in a better place. They’re in heaven now. They don’t have no worries no more.”

When the reporter asked if the children had fought back while she was killing them, she admitted they had. “A little bit, yeah.” But, she claimed, the children wanted to die. “I gave them a choice.” She said she told them they could live a “traumatized” life like she had, or “go to heaven.”

Pasztor is hardly the first mother to kill her children because she believed they would be better off dead. Tragically, it’s a common thing for moms to say when they’ve murdered their children due to postpartum psychosis, addiction to crystal meth, or some other form of insanity.

Pasztor spoke to Thomas by phone from the Elkhart County Jail, where she was being held on murder charges. She also claimed to have shot and killed her neighbor, Frank Macomber – although she has not been charged with his death. The children’s father, Rene Hernandez, was found butchered in a wooded area in 2010. His murder has not been solved.

amanda interior

Amanda Pasztor

On September 26, Pasztor drove to the Elkhart Police Department and told officers she had smothered her children, who were in the backseat of the car. They were found dead of asphyxiation and their deaths were ruled as homicides.

An Amber Alert had been issued earlier for the missing kids, who were in the custody of their grandfather. Pasztor told police she abducted them from their grandfather’s home and decided to kill them when she heard the Amber Alert being broadcast while she was driving.

The car she was driving had been stolen from Macomber, age 65, who was found dead in the woods near Fort Wayne, with a gunshot wound to the head, the day after Pasztor’s arrest. Pasztor says she shot him with his own gun, which she then threw into a river in Michigan. She has not been charged in connection with his death.

The day she kidnapped and killed her children, Pasztor was due in court for noncompliance after failing to carry out a community service order. She did not have custody of her children, and her mother, Leanne Pasztor, has described her as ‘crazy.’

Since Pasztor was speaking to media without a lawyer present, Indianapolis defense attorney Jack Crawford says the interview will probably not be admissible in court.  And if it is, “it almost forces the defense to go with insanity.” Pasztor’s trial isn’t scheduled until January, and reports say it is likely to be rescheduled multiple times before she has her day in court.

Pasztor is being held without bail. Another one of her children, aged three, is under the care of grandparents.

Images via Elkhart Sheriff Department.