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Mother in Drown Case Said to Claim Sign

October 21, 2003

LAMAR, Colo. (AP) _ A woman accused of drowning her infant son and 4-year-old daughter in a bathtub told police she had received a ``sign″ that she should kill the children: a spider crawling across her hand, according to an arrest affidavit released Monday.

Rebekah Amaya, 32, said she is usually afraid of spiders but ``felt at peace″ when the spider crawled on her, the affidavit said. ``She felt it was a sign to set her children free.″

She told police she held 5-month-old Gabriel Amaya face up ``under the water until he stopped breathing,″ then did the same thing to 4-year-old Grace Headlee, the affidavit said. Leo Amaya, Gabriel’s father, found the children in the bathtub and his wife unconscious when he returned home from work Thursday.

Shortly after the affidavit was released Rebekah Amaya appeared in Prowers County District Court, where a public defender was appointed. He declined to comment on the case.

Amaya faces first-degree murder charges in Thursday’s deaths. Her formal advisement on the charges was scheduled for Nov. 12.

At first, the woman said her children drowned while taking a bath after she drank three bottles of wine and passed out, according to Detective Jason Malterud of the Lamar Police Department. But she later told the officer she killed them.

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