Marilyn Kay Edge accused of fatally poisoning son, daughter

Authorities: Edge tried to kill herself

SANTA ANA, Calif. - An Arizona woman apparently distraught after losing a child custody fight was charged Monday with fatally poisoning her 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter in a Santa Ana hotel room before unsuccessfully trying to kill herself in a car crash.

Marilyn Kay Edge, 42, of Scottsdale was expected to be arraigned Tuesday on two counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder by poison, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Edge is accused of killing 13-year-old Jaelen and 10-year-old Faith on Saturday morning. Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said autopsies on the children were completed today, but authorities would say only that both victims were poisoned.

Just after 8 a.m. Saturday, Edge deliberately crashed a gray Honda Accord into steel poles protecting an electrical vault in the parking lot of an Albertsons supermarket in Costa Mesa at 2300 Harbor Blvd., according to Costa Mesa police Sgt. Tim Starn.

When she was pulled from the vehicle, the mother told police about her children, and officers found their bodies just after 9 a.m. inside the Hampton Inn & Suites at 2720 Hotel Terrace, near the interchange of the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway at Dyer Road, Starn said.

"As she was getting processed (by paramedics) to the hospital, she made some statements that indicated a crime might have occurred (in Santa Ana)," Starn said.

Edge was taken to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, but Bertagna said she was eventually released to the custody of police and interviewed by detectives, resulting in her arrest.

Edge's ex-husband, Mark Edge of Marietta, Ga., last Wednesday won full custody of the children, who were supposed to be returned to him over the weekend, according to his attorney, Marian Weeks.

"The judge told her to have the children back here by yesterday (Sunday) at noon," Weeks told City News Service.

Instead, she said, police knocked on her client's door about 5 that morning to say his children had been killed. The father is so grief-stricken that he has been hospitalized since getting the news, Weeks said.

The judge ruled that Mark Edge, who is in the Air Force reserves, should have custody of the children because he had shown a "positive change" by landing a job helping mentally disabled and autistic adults learn how to better care for themselves, Weeks said.

The judge also determined the defendant had spent years violating the father's visitation rights, according to Weeks.

"Last year, he finally got visitation and she immediately moved the children to Arizona," the attorney said, adding that last Wednesday, the mother told the judge that the children were with their grandparents in Scottsdale.

After the couple divorced, Marilyn Edge went to court over child support and made other allegedly false allegations, including a claim that a child of one of her ex-husband's friends had molested the girl, Weeks said. She also accused her ex-husband of physical and emotional abuse, according to Weeks, who said the allegations were unfounded.

Mark Edge, meanwhile, was in Afghanistan working on a defense contract and could not defend himself, Weeks said.

"He lost (his job) because of all the things she did here," Weeks alleged. "When you start having your wages garnished and they're saying you have financial problems, then you lose your security clearance ... It took him awhile to get a job when he came back to the United States."

Mark Edge initially went to court to get visitation rights, Weeks said.

"If she just let him have weekend visitation, he would be the happiest person in the world, but she couldn't do that," Weeks said. "It became so obvious that she would do anything to prevent visitation with her children."

Mark Edge testified last week that "not counting those three times he saw them last September, since the divorce he had seen his children less than 10 times," Weeks said.

"I have some video of them with him, and you can tell they're happy as larks with him -- very, very happy," she said. "There's video of them all bowling, fishing and swinging in the park. You can tell these kids loved their daddy."

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