Jeanette Hawes' family responds to brutal double murder

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, November 29, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---22-year-old Jeanette Hawes is charged with 2 counts of murder in the stabbing deaths of her two toddlers. News 12 caught up with Hawes' mother. We have the story of a family struggling to understand...why?

"I've been in the business 25 years, and I've never encountered anything like this," said Mark Bowen. He is Chief Coroner for Richmond County, and he was visibly shaken by what he calls a tragic and gruesome crime scene.

Investigators say two toddlers, ages one and three, were murdered at their mother's hand. "It's such a tragic, such a loss, um it's hard...even people in public service have a hard time dealing with it," Bowen said.

Hawes' mother, Janice Hawes, is in shock. "When I first heard about it, I was just stressed and depressed and um sometimes you just can't believe, you know, that things like this can happen. You don't be thinking about it until it happens."

Family friend, Gary Willingham, says there were warning signs. "It's been going on now for a few days...the family being concerned about where she was, and how the kids were, cause she was not in touch with the family."

And yet Jeanette spoke candidly with News 12 on Monday with two children nearby who are believed to be hers. She spoke to us after a woman stabbed the family's pit bull. "I think that was very wrong, you know she didn't have to do that."

So what drove Jeanette to do what she did just days later?

"In the last month or so, she had lost her job with the post office and it just mounted up with a lot of things going unmet because of the loss of her job," says Willingham.

There are so many unanswered questions. And the investigation is just beginning. "It's hard to deal with children especially after being taken in such a tragic manner we all suffer when something like this happens," says Bowen.

The children's grandmother says, "I'm doing fine right now, but I know what I got to know...because it's really not really over right now...when I go look at those kids."

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