In a mobile home in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, Molly Delgado spent time that Tuesday night in January with her two young sons in their bedroom, authorities said.
Her husband, Justin, was already asleep when Molly Delgado lit the children’s beds on fire and then left the house, secured the door from the outside and went to her mother’s house for soup, according to a criminal complaint.
Minutes later, Justin Delgado was awakened by the smoke.
“He tried to get to the children’s bedroom but was unable to due to the smoke,” West Virginia State Assistant Fire Marshal George Harms wrote in the complaint. “He called out to the children but there was no answer.”
The father tried to run outside, but he was locked in, according to the court records. He opened a kitchen window, but it was too small to climb through, so he called for help.
Justin Delgado was rescued and treated at a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation, according to the Herald-Mail. His sons, ages 3 and 5, were found dead — one in a bed, the other curled up in a corner of the bedroom, according to the court records.
Molly Delgado, who has been charged with her sons’ deaths, is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for her preliminary hearing, according to the clerk’s office at the Berkeley County Magistrate Court. The public defender’s office would not say whether Delgado had been assigned an attorney in the case.
Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Catie Wilkes Delligatti said she cannot comment on ongoing investigations.
Delgado’s father, Drew McCombs, told the Herald-Mail that his daughter was walking back to the house in Martinsburg on Jan. 24 when she heard her husband screaming through a window, asking her to bring him the key.
West Virginia Metro News reported that Justin Delgado ultimately climbed through the kitchen window, then tried to re-enter the house to rescue his sons. McCombs also rushed inside to find the children.
“I got in there and I couldn’t see, I couldn’t see nothing — at all,” he told the Herald Mail. “I couldn’t find them. I went in there and I couldn’t find them — went in twice.”
McCombs told the Herald-Mail that he has a chronic lung disease, which made it difficult for him to fight his way through the smoke-choked home. After his second try, he told the newspaper, “I couldn’t get out, I thought I was going to die then.”
When he found the door, McCombs said, he ran outside and grabbed a garden hose, then pulled it around to the children’s bedroom and started spraying water at the flames. “The beds were on fire,” he told the Herald-Mail.
Firefighters soon arrived and extinguished the blaze, but “it was too late,” McCombs said.
The children, Delmer Delgado and Justin Delgado Jr., were pulled from the home and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the court documents. McCombs told the Herald Mail, “They were good boys.”
Molly Delgado was arrested and charged March 8 with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson, according to a statement last week from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal. In an interview with authorities, Delgado admitted that she started the two fires on her children’s beds, according to court documents.
She is being held at the Eastern Regional Jail.