Felicia Chen charged for drowning 3 of her children

vlcsnap-2013-04-30-18h58m15s10922 year old Felicia Chen of Mile 8 Western Highway is accused of an unspeakable act: deliberately taking her four children into the sea off Belizean Beach on the Western Highway on Saturday afternoon, then drowning three of them and attempting to drown her oldest child, aged six, who escaped and reported the matter to passersby who took her to the police. Yesterday afternoon, Chen was officially charged with three counts of murder. A postmortem examination of the bodies of Thomas Edilberto Teul, 3; Triana Elica Teul, 4; and Trinaya Felicia Teul, 1, found their vlcsnap-2013-04-30-18h57m57s206causes of death to be immersion syndrome, which according to www.patient.co.uk is “sudden cardiac arrest on cold immersion. It may be vagal response coupled with vasoconstriction.” That is, the heart stops beating upon being forced down into water, causing a difficulty of breathing and ultimately asphyxia. Magistrate Dale Cayetano read the counts to Chen in the presence of DPP Cheryl Lynn-Vidal; the press, we understand, were kept out of the proceedings and DPP Vidal says there was no legal bar to bringing the charges. Chen was brought back to court today for the vlcsnap-2013-04-30-18h57m01s152Magistrate to determine whether the Central Prison was the best place to keep her with regard to her present mental condition. The Magistrate yesterday granted the adjournment in order to bring in psychiatric experts to evaluate her condition.  Here is the DPP’s summary of what transpired: “Chen was assessed by Dr. Augustine and Psychiatric nurse Ms. Bennett this morning. They later presented their findings to the court. They indicated that their preliminary view is that Chen is suffering from chronic clinical depression and that it is so severe at this point vlcsnap-2013-04-30-18h56m53s55that she is a danger to herself. They expressed that they are of the opinion that her mental state is a priority and that she was in urgent need of therapy. Based on this, Chen was remanded to a Mental Health Hospital for observation. She is to return to court in 14 days.” This means she returns on May 15. The DPP continues, “The entire procedure followed is in accordance with the Medical Service and Institutions Act. This process was embarked upon to ensure that the best possible decision was made for the welfare of the accused, who, notwithstanding the fact that she has been charged with a criminal offense and the nature of that offense, is still owed a responsibility by the State. The question of Ms. Chen’s fitness to stand trial and her state of mind at the time that she allegedly committed the offenses and the effect that that may have on her degree of culpability are separate issues which will be addressed at the appropriate time.

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