Asheville mom accused of killing daughters with hatchet - FOX Carolina 21

Asheville mom accused of killing daughters with hatchet

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ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

An Asheville woman is charged with murdering her two daughters with a hatchet, and then turning the same hatchet on herself.

Naiyana Patel is recovering at Mission Hospital and Asheville Police have posted an officer outside her door.  A spokesman for the department said she is not expected to be released today.

Police were called to the Patel family's home on Shannon Drive in East Asheville on Saturday morning.

Inside, they found two girls, ages 4 and 8, dead.

The biggest question neighbors and friends have is why this young mother is accused of taking the lives of her children.

For the last couple years, the Patel family ran the Ash Pantry Food Store, a neighborhood convenience store near Biltmore Village.

"I've always stopped there [at the store], pretty much every day, and I talk to them, and to hear the kids in there, laughing and playing… to go by there this morning not to hear it, it's…it's sad," said neighbor James Ratcliff. "You never would expect it from them. I mean, she, the mama, was real caring and loving for them kids."

Neighbors say Lalji Patel and his wife Naiyana, recently moved to their new home with their two daughters, 8-year-old Jiya, and four year old Piya. They say the young family was always friendly - they seemed happy.

Saturday morning, a neighbor heard commotion at their house.

"We saw the father get out and get on his [moped] and leave, and as he went by he waved, very friendly, and then he left, and about, ten minutes after that, we heard these blood curdling screams. It was awful. It was terrible. And, I just knew there was something wrong. As a mother, I knew there was something wrong, those screams were not just, you know, crying."

Asheville police say Naiyana Patel has had recent mental health issues.  They say she had been recently seeing a psychiatrist.

She has been charged with first degree murder, but will not be under arrest until she is released from the hospital and formally interviewed.  Asheville Police are seeking a Gujarati Hindu interpreter to help them with their interview.

They say a funeral for the girls may be scheduled for later this week.

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