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Mom kills son, self inside Mesa, Ariz. children’s hospital, police say

MESA, Ariz. — Mesa police are continuing their investigation into an apparent murder-suicide that took place inside Cardon Children’s Medical Center at Banner Desert Medical Center Saturday morning.

According to Steve Berry, detective with the Mesa Police Department, sometime between the midnight bed check and the 2 a.m. bed check, Lola “Tami” Griffith, 27, took the life of her 5-year-old son, Helious Griffith, and then took her own life.

Police said Helious was possibly killed using a piece of medical tubing that was found around his neck. Griffith’s injures were from an apparent gunshot wound. It is unknown how she was able to smuggle a weapon inside.

Hospital staff cut off the ligature but could not revive the boy.

Berry confirmed there was an active case with the child’s family through the Department of Child Safety, but didn’t have the details of it. Griffith’s father said his grandson was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 1, and his daughter feared losing custody of her son.

Berry said Griffith had been in the hospital for about seven to eight days and that DCS had been in direct contact with the family at the hospital within the last two days.

In a statement Monday, Department of Child Safety officials said the agency received unsubstantiated reports of child neglect involving Griffith in August 2011, November 2011 and April 2012. But last Sept. 28, the agency investigated another neglect report and found the boy underweight. He was admitted to a hospital.

Department of Child Safety officials said they decided last Thursday to file a petition with the court requesting an in-home dependency that would allow the boy to remain with his mother and family in his home while the court monitored services and progress.

“This was to ensure the safety of [Griffith] while affording his mother physical custody and necessary service provision,” the agency’s statement said. “This was to begin upon [Griffith]’ discharge from the hospital. [Griffith] was murdered before that occurred.”

David Lozano, spokesman for for Banner Desert Medical Center would not comment on the situation other than to say, “The safety of our patients, associates and visitors is paramount to us and it is our top priority at this time.

“At no time were others impacted by this incident and we remain vigil in the safety of all we’re treating and seeing.”

Lozano added that Banner Health does have a policy in place that prohibits firearms and weapons at all of their hospitals, health centers and clinics and signs are posted at the entry ways.

A crowdfunding page was set up by a Lola Griffith about a month ago titled “Mobility for the Immobile For: Lola and Helious Griffith”

(YouCaring photo)

(YouCaring photo)

“I’m a single mother of a special needs little boy whom will be turning 6 this Christmas eve 2015,” Griffith wrote. “My son’s name is Helious (like the Greek Sun God Helios) and he has Cerebral Palsy with Dystonia, he has sensitivities to audio, odor, and touch. He also suffers from separation anxiety when I’m out of his line of sight where he cries and can not self calm. He has been traumatized by doctors where now he expresses extreme anxiety and down right terror when he smells rubbing alcohol and/or see someone in scrubs or lab coat.”

Griffith was asking for help buying a vehicle because hers broke down.

“The cheapest vehicle that I can find on craigslist (that can be converted by the VA for a wheelchair lift) is $1500 which I do not have the funds for that’s not counting the 30cents per dollar removed by this site(that’s why the amount is $1800 to make sure we can get the actually $1500). If you can’t make a donation, that’s okay but PLEASE at least help me get the word out that we need help.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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