- Mother: "He was a friend. ... I never thought he would rape and kill my children"
- Police accuse a 30-year-old suspect of killing four children with a machete
- The suspect also raped one of the children, police say
Carolina Jimenez says she was buying groceries when suddenly she felt something was terribly wrong.
She left behind the food and rushed to her home in northern Honduras, where she encountered a horrifying scene: Three of her children were dead. One more was gasping her last breath.
"I said, 'Daughter, why did they do this to you?' She wanted to tell me something, but all that was left in her was a whisper," Jimenez told CNN.
Now, a 30-year-old man who had been staying with the family is accused of raping Jimenez's 13-year-old daughter, then using a machete to kill her and her three siblings (a 10-year-old, a 7-year-old and an 18-month-old).
"He was a friend of ours. ... I never thought he would rape and kill my children," Jimenez said, crying as she described what happened.
Sunday's gruesome slayings drew national attention in the Central American country, which has the world's highest murder rate.
It's far too common, experts say, for children to be victims of violence. In a report released this year, Casa Alianza, a children's rights organization, said nearly 3,800 youths under 23 had been killed in Honduras since 2010.
Police said they apprehended the suspect in Sunday's killings, and identified him as Candido Rodriguez Castillo. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had legal representation, and he hasn't spoken out publicly about the case.
"The most important thing in this case is that the perpetrator of these killings was captured," German Alfaro, deputy commander of the Honduran Military Police, told CNN affiliate Televicentro. He described the killings as an "isolated but also sinister incident."
Jimenez said after the killings she confronted Rodriguez, who claimed he had nothing to do with it.
"The machete he used belong to my husband," she said. "The only thing I ask for is for him to be killed the way he killed my girls."
Honduras abolished the death penalty in 1956. Authorities said Rodriguez is being held in Trujillo, Honduras, on charges of rape and homicide.