Early Saturday morning, hospital officials in Mesa, Arizona, found one of their young patients dead in his bed, his mother dead beside him – the aftermath of an apparent murder-suicide, police tell PEOPLE.
Lola T. Griffith, 27, and her 5-year-old son, Helious, were found at about 2 a.m. local time in the boy’s room at the Cardon Children’s Medical Center, Mesa police spokesman Steve Berry tells PEOPLE.
Lola had been shot to death, Berry says. He declined to release the child’s cause of death, citing the ongoing investigation.
Police are investigating the case as a murder-suicide, Berry says.
The hospital performs bed checks every two hours, he says. Mother and son were last seen alive in Helious’ room at midnight.
The state’s Department of Child Safety had recently been in contact with Lola, Berry says, but he was unable to provide more detail.
Lola’s parents told local TV station KNXV that DCS had recently obtained legal custody of Helious, which wrecked their daughter, who was a single mother.
They blamed the way the case had been handled.
“I believed in the system for a long time,” Richard Griffith told the station. “I hate the system now.”
PEOPLE was not immediately able to reach a DCS representative for comment.
Berry declined to explain the nature of Helious’ hospitalization but said he had been there for seven or eight days.
Police said no one reported hearing a gun shot in the hospital, according to KNXV.
Helious would have turned 6 on Christmas Eve, Berry says.
A crime like this, he says, is “abnormal for any community.”
The hospital does not have metal detectors.
Berry says that, like entering any large public space, carrying in a concealed firearm would be no more difficult than putting it in a purse.
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Adam Carlson