Police: Mother kills son, herself at Phoenix-area hospital

- A mother of a patient at a suburban Phoenix children's hospital took her son's life before taking her own, police said.

Nurses at Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa found the woman and her 5-year-old child dead inside the child's room while conducting a 2 a.m. bed check Saturday, Mesa police spokesman Steve Berry said.

"Every two hours they do a check," Berry said. "They were seen alive and fine at midnight and then found at 2 a.m."

The mother had a fatal gunshot wound, Berry said. He could not describe how the child died.

Upon finding the pair, the nurses immediately called for trauma units as well as security. An off-duty police officer was already working at the hospital, according to authorities.

Investigators believe the mother killed the child and then herself. Nobody at the hospital recalls hearing any gunshots or suspicious activity, Berry said. The boy was in a private room.

Berry told KPHO-TV (http://bit.ly/1HlLbk5 ) that the woman was 27-year-old Tammy Griffith, and the 5-year-old's name was Helious.

Police have completed their investigation of the scene and the room has been turned back over to the hospital. No one else in the hospital was threatened or harmed.

A representative for the Banner Health system declined to comment when reached Saturday.

According to Buzzfeed, a crowdfunding page was set up by Griffith (who also went by the name Lola) about a month ago, pleading for help to take care of her special needs son and replace her vehicle which had broken down.

“I normally help my community with food and diapers or whatever I can when they come and ask but this time, I’m afraid, I need the help,” she wrote on the page. “But no one here in my community can lend a hand. So I’m reaching out to anybody and everybody hoping to find those few that would love to help.”

She also said on the page that her son had cerebral palsy and dystonia, and that she also helped care for her grandparents.

Griffith was looking to raise $1,500 for a vehicle that could be fitted with a wheelchair lift for her son and grandfather.

“We can’t progress any further alone,” she wrote.

According to police, the boy had been hospitalized for the past week. Berry declined to say why the boy was hospitalized, citing privacy rules.

The mother currently had an open case with the Arizona Department of Child Safety but she was the boy's legal guardian, Berry said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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