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Mother Kills Teen-Age Children, Tries to Kill Self

October 14, 1985

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) _ The teen-age son of a woman accused of fatally shooting him and her 13- year-old daughter as they slept had told a friend two weeks earlier that he dreamed his mother would kill him, the youth’s teacher said.

Diego Arce, 15, and Barbara Arce, 13, died in their beds early Saturday, shot and killed by their mother, Ledda Quintano, 36, who then tried to kill herself, authorities said.

Ms. Quintano, a newspaper delivery woman, was listed in critical condition Sunday at Memorial Hospital in Hollywood after undergoing surgery for a self- inflicted bullet wound to the head early Saturday, police said.

″We believe she reloaded the weapon and turned it on herself,′ said investigator Bruce Hahn of the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Diego, an above average student, revealed his eerie dream to friends at school, said Sam Johnson, the debate teacher and coach at the school.

″He had mentioned to other students that he had a dream about his mother coming into his room and killing him,″ Johnson said.

Police said the double killing and attempted suicide apparently were motivated by financial difficulties.

″I think their economic problems were fairly recent,″ said sheriff’s spokesman Jim Leljedal. ″The puzzle here is why she felt it necessary to kill the children when she obviously loved them and took care of them.″

Ms. Quintano left a note, but Leljedal refused to reveal its contents. He said her apartment was neat, clean and decorated with many photos of her two children.

″By outward appearances, it looked as if it was the home of a nice family, of a mother who was proud of her children,″ Leljedal said.

Ms. Quintano was found in her children’s bedroom Saturday by a fellow employee who went to the apartment after she failed to report for work.

One neighbor said Ms. Quintano gave no indication she felt desperate.

″I think she lived a very active life. She always had a smiling face when I saw her. I thought they were doing well,″ said Patricia Marple, a neighbor whose children were friendly with Diego and Barbara.

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