Records of domestic violence in life of mother who drowned her children

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WVEC.com

Posted on October 2, 2002 at 5:32 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 30 at 3:04 PM

What could push a parent to the point of killing her children and then killing herself? That's what Norfolk police say happened Sunday night into Monday morning, when Sonita Barkley drowned her three children and left them in their Norfolk apartment. Police said she then drove to the Campostella Bridge and jumped.

While it's unclear exactly what caused this tragedy, a 13News investigation uncovered domestic problems in Barkley's life.

Court records show Ms. Barkley and her estranged husband, Randell, took out protective orders against each other.

In a formal complaint in March 2001, she stated that her estranged husband "pulled my hair and made me hit the floor. He banged my head against the floor several times and hit me in the mouth."

A week later, Mr. Barkley said she "assaulted and attacked him by punching him, choking him, scratching his face and chest and struck him in his private area."

Sonita Barkley was 24 years old and worked at a telephone directory call center in Chesapeake. The children were ages 4, 3 and 7 months.

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