Long Island mother pleads guilty to the double murder of her 2-year-old twin girls

A Long Island mother pleaded guilty to the murder of her 2-year-old girls, twins who were suffocated in June 2019, authorities said.

Tenia Campbell, 28, of Medford, New York, entered guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree murder in state court in Suffolk County on Monday, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said.

She is expected to be sentenced to 20 years in prison next month, officials said.

On June 27, 2019, Campbell was gripped by suicidal thoughts as she drove a minivan with her twins toward the eastern tip of the island, Tierney’s office said.

The three stopped under a tree at the entrance to Montauk County Park Third House Nature Center, it said.

twin toddler deaths
The minivan where 2-year-old twins were found in cardiac arrest in 2019.WNBC

Campbell’s mother had called 911 to express concern about the twins — Jasmine and Jaida Campbell — saying her daughter threatened to kill them and herself.

Authorities launched a search that included help from local and state police, park rangers and the Coast Guard, the DA’s office said.

Campbell was connected to a call between her mother and authorities, prosecutors said, but she wouldn’t divulge her location. Her cellphone signals were used to help zero in on the trio, the DA’s office said.

About 1 hour and 20 minutes after Campbell’s mother first called, East Hampton Town police officers spotted the minivan and confirmed Campbell was with it, it said.

NBC New York has reported that Campbell got out of the minivan, walked to a nearby roadway and told responding officer to “shoot me,” it said, citing police.

“The officer walked over to the van and saw Campbell’s 2-year-old twin daughters dead in their car seats,” the Suffolk County office said in its latest statement, released on Monday.

“Campbell later admitted to smothering the girls to death,” it said.

The girls were said to be in cardiac arrest when first responders got to them, and they were rushed to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, where they were pronounced dead, the office said.

In a July 10, 2019, statement, the office, then led by District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, said the county medical examiner concluded the twins died of “homicidal violence consistent with manual asphyxia.”

Prosecutors said at the time that Campbell admitted to police that she killed the twins.

“Those two little girls looked to this defendant, their mother, for protection and love,” Tierney said in Monday’s statement. “Instead, she executed them.”

“This is such a sad and tragic case,” he said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at 988lifeline.org. You can also visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional support.