UPDATE: Two missing kids found dead; mother arrested

amberpasztorlilianahernandezrenepasztor

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) – The county coroner has ruled the death of two children from Ft. Wayne a homicide.

Amber Pasztor, Rene Pasztor and Liliana Hernande Liliana Hernandez, 7, and Rene Pasztor, 6, were found dead in the back of a car driven by their mother on Monday evening. The coroner says the cause of death was asphyxiation.

Police now have to figure out the “why?” in this situation. Amber Pasztor, 29, flagged down a police officer Monday evening and told him her two children were dead in the backseat of her gold Mercury.

“Often times we’re out looking for things,” Sgt. Chris Snyder of the Elkhart Police said. “But here’s a tragic event that comes in and basically pulls up to our back door.”

However, police say she has no connection to the area at this point.

“We could not find anything that would connect her to Elkhart,” Snyder said. “That’s one thing our detectives are looking into today. Is to find out why. Why Elkhart? Is it, ‘I was driving down 33 and this is what I came across?’ Did she meet someone online? What was the reasoning of ending up in Elkhart, if there was a reason. It might turn out it was just luck. Maybe this was where she decided she needed to stop.”

The Amber Alert went out around 1:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, and just four and a half hours later, the kids were found dead in her backseat in Elkhart. The in-between is what officers are trying to piece together. However, even for the most seasoned vets on the force, this is a case that has them troubled.

“I’ve spoken to the officers involved, and many of them have been here well over 20 years,” Snyder said. “They say this is certainly a case they will probably never forget and won’t forget anytime soon. I don’t think it was a very gruesome crime scene but, again, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t the one to have to climb around in the car.”

As for Pasztor, her past is something in question. She has a criminal record dating back to 2005 for an underage drinking charge but has had more serious offenses in recent years including domestic battery charges and invasion of privacy. She also had a warrant out for her arrest for violating a protective order and not complying with her sentence.

Neighbors who knew Amber Pasztor were shocked to hear the news, but they also thought she was a little off.

“I’d never let her watch my kids,” says Jeannette Schimes who lived near Pasztor. “Never, ever. She’s way too messed up. She’s always really [expletive] on drugs. She was kind of rowdy. Always had people over and always doing drugs. She turned herself into jail on murder charges. What? How do you even, like, put your kids and murder in the same sentence, let alone action? That’s just disturbing.”

Even more disturbing is the case of Pasztor’s boyfriend. In 2010, Rene Hernandez’s body was found in a wooded area of Whitley County. The Whitley County Prosecutor says the case is still unsolved.

At the time, the Whitley County Sheriff questioned Pasztor. Pasztor called herself Hernandez’s girlfriend and was pregnant at the time. She told police the baby was his and that she had another child with Hernandez.

The Whitley County Sheriff has had no contact with Amber Pasztor since 2010.

“Detectives will continue looking at the case with this new lead,” Sheriff Marc Gatton of the Whitley County Sheriff said in a written statement.

The sheriff has not talked to Pasztor since her arrest and either they will interview her or have Elkhart detectives do it for them.

“We’re all kind of freaking out because the father of the son and daughter was found in the woods,” Schimes said. “[He was] chopped up, bloody in South Whitley. She’s a [expletive] murderer. She’s a murderer.”


Amber Pasztor and Frank Macomber
Rene Pasztor and Liliana Hernandez

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