Utah mother charged with murder after her 2 children found dead with neck, throat injuries

A woman was charged with murder Thursday after the bodies of her two children were found with marks on their necks and other injuries that police said were consistent with a struggle.

Sun Cha Warhola, 44, of Layton, faces two counts of aggravated murder. She remained held without bail in the Davis County Jail, and it was not immediately clear if she had an attorney.

Court papers said the bodies of 8-year-James Warhola and 7-year-old Jean Warhola showed distinct ligature marks around the neck and other injuries consistent with a physical struggle. Autopsy results on the children were pending Thursday, police said.

"It would appear there was some sort of struggle that would have involved the hands, not a firearm or a knife," police Lt. Quinn Moyes said.

Authorities said the bodies were discovered after Warhola's husband, Kenneth Warhola, came home from work Wednesday and found his wife barricaded in the children's bedroom.

Kenneth Warhola asked his wife to open the door, but she told him to "give her 10 minutes before coming into the room," according to police. When he finally pushed the door open, Sun Cha Warhola asked her husband not to look at the children, who were lying on a bed under a blanket, court documents said.

Layton investigator Glen Fullmer said Kenneth Warhola then touched his son's face "and found it was cold to the touch."

Court documents also showed that Sun Cha Warhola told police she had been alone in the home with the children.

Moyes said that prior to her arrest Wednesday, Sun Cha Warhola was treated for minor injuries that also appeared to be consistent with a struggle.

State court records showed Sun Cha Warhola was charged with misdemeanor assault in January. In April, she agreed to a guilty plea in abeyance, which meant her record would be wiped clean if she met certain conditions and stayed out of trouble for one year. A domestic violence tag on the case was dropped in exchange for the plea, court records showed.

Michael F. Olmstead, who represented Sun Cha Warhola in the case, told The Associated Press that the couple first hired him to prepare their will and do other estate planning work about 12 years ago. He said the Warholas appeared to "have their differences" like any other couple.

"I'm shocked and surprised," Olmstead said. "I certainly didn't see any major problems and certainly nothing that would indicate the children were in any sort of jeopardy."

Olmstead said Thursday he had not been contacted by either of the Warholas.

Court records also showed a 2006 misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge filed against Sun Cha Warhola in 2006 that was dismissed in February 2008.

Moyes said Layton detectives were looking at those cases for any connections with the current investigation.

An initial court appearance for Sun Cha Warhola had not been scheduled Thursday.

Layton is about 24 miles north of Salt Lake City.