A Florida mother who authorities say made her children to drink bleach before killing one of them said she was ordered to do so by a voodoo spell.
Joanne Zephir, 36, of Poinciana, admitted to forcing her 3- and 8-year-old kids to drink bleach and then planning to commit suicide. According to investigators, her 3-year-old son was also strangled.
Zephir and her daughters were discovered outside a church on May 8, according to authorities.
Zephir had passed out at the wheel of a vehicle, her 3-year-old daughter in the back seat unconscious.
Zephir’s other daughter was discovered in the church parking lot near the entrance. All three were taken to a neighboring hospital, where the youngest daughter was declared dead.
Other family members were given custody of the older girl.
Zephir was arrested by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office for an outstanding arrest warrant in Orange County for attempted murder and aggravated violence.
She is thought to have previously admitted her guilt in the suspected Orange County crime to a relative.
Zephir is said to have planned to turn herself in to officials over the warrant, but she wanted to spend more time with her children first.
According to the sheriff’s department, she called the same relative hours later and admitted to killing her younger daughter.
According to Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez, she told them that “the 8-year-old was also going to die, and then she was going to kill herself.”
When questioned, Zephir allegedly informed officers that she made her children drink bleach before strangling the younger girl.
According to Lopez: “The reason for doing this to her children was because the victim in Orange County must have put a voodoo spell on her, making her harm her children.”
The suspect is currently being detained at the Osceola County Jail on charges of attempted murder and severe child abuse.
The initial charge may be elevated to murder awaiting the outcome of the autopsy.