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Family killings rise during holiday season

PHOENIX — An Arizona woman is accused of killing her daughter and trying
to fatally stab her husband and poison her other three children over a custody
dispute on Christmas Day.

A 51-year-old Phoenix man is being held on a $1 million bond
after police said he killed his 13-year-old son with an ax.

A father apparently killed himself and his daughters, both under 10, in a suburb west of Phoenix.

In Southern California, a man apparently killed his wife and their two children
before turning the gun on himself a day before New Year’s Eve. In New Mexico, a
38-year-old woman faces charges after police say she kicked her child to death
two days after Christmas.

The family-related killings happened around the holidays, and while people look
for answers, experts said they vary case-to-case. But many have common themes —
custody disputes or nasty divorces — coupled with a time relatives are gathered
for celebrations.

Experts said close quarters and, in many cases, discord in the families, can lead to tragic consequences.