FORT WAYNE, Ind. – A man accused of killing his family told police he beat and strangled his wife and killed their three children after the couple argued about him doing chores around the house, according to a court record.
Police found Simon Rios, 33, on the front porch of his home on the city's south side after receiving a suicide call about 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Inside the home, officers found a puddle of blood on the living room floor, a probable cause affidavit said. They found Rios' wife, Ana Casas, and the couple's three children dead in a bedroom.
Rios pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four preliminary counts of murder and two counts of moving a body. He was being held without bond in the Allen County Jail.
Allen County Coroner E. Jon Brandenberger said autopsies found that Casas, 28, had died from blunt force trauma to the head and strangulation and that 4-year-old Katherinne G. Rios, 20-month-old Thannya Karolinna Rios and 10-year-old Liliana Rios Casas had been strangled.
Rios told police he and his wife argued after Casas arrived home from work about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and that he hit her with a steel pipe, then strangled her with an extension cord, the police affidavit states.
He then strangled Katherinne with his hands, the affidavit states, and used an extension cord to strangle the other two girls. He placed the three children on the bed together and pulled his wife's body into the room, according to the document.
Police spokesman Mike Joyner said Wednesday that he spoke with prosecutors and there was no indication they would seek the death penalty.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with Allen County prosecutor's office spokeswoman Robyn Niedzwiecki.
Neighbor Nancy Gater said Simon Rios worked at a factory but had lost his job this year and spent some time in Mexico. She said the family had moved to the house about four years ago.
The discovery of the bodies came a day after police and the FBI searched homes in the south side neighborhood for clues about 10-year-old Alejandra Gutierrez, who disappeared Thursday on her way to a nearby school bus stop.
Joyner said police did not find a connection between the two cases when they questioned Rios, but they will continue to consider him as a possible suspect in the girl's disappearance.
Rios was convicted in Allen County of a 2003 misdemeanor domestic battery charge. The court ordered Rios to stay away from the victim but it was lifted in July 2003, according to court records. Records were unclear who the victim was.
Friends were shocked by the deaths and said they had seen no signs of trouble.
Adolfo Puebla, who said he is the godfather of the youngest girl, said Rios and his family attended a birthday party Puebla and his wife hosted Saturday. They left laughing, he said.
Michael Guzman called Rios "a great friend of mine" and said he had never heard Rios raise his voice to his children or speak ill of his wife.
"Everybody who knows him loves the guy," he said.