A woman calmly called the emergency dispatcher to report that her baby son wasn't breathing on Tuesday and then hours later confessed to killing him and her two other sons over the past several months because her husband ignored their daughter, authorities said.
Brittany Pilkington was charged with three counts of murder and was jailed, said police in Bellefontaine, about 60 miles (96.5 kilometres) northwest of Columbus.
Pilkington, the 23-year-old, is accused in Tuesday's death of a 3-month-old Noah Pilkington and in the deaths of Gavin Pilkington (4), who died in April, and 3-month-old Niall Pilkington, who died in July 2014. No working telephone number for the family's home could be found, and no attorney information was available for the mother.
Police said officers went to the family's apartment on Tuesday morning after an emergency call from the mother saying that Noah wasn't breathing. They said she calmly answered a dispatcher's questions while the baby's sleep apnea alarm beeped in the background. The baby was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Logan County prosecutor William Goslee told The Columbus Dispatch that he interviewed Brittany Pilkington on Tuesday and that she confessed to killing each of her sons by placing a blanket over their heads and suffocating them.
"In her mind," Goslee said, "she was protecting her daughter from being not as loved as the boys were by their father."
The daughter, 3-year-old Hailey Pilkington, was taken into custody by a county child welfare agency.
Authorities were already investigating what happened to Niall and Gavin, whose causes of death still hadn't been determined. In each of those cases, their father,
Joseph Pilkington, found them unresponsive when he got home from work.
"Our son's not breathing," Brittany Pilkington said meekly to a dispatcher when she called police on April 6 as her husband frantically gave Gavin chest compressions. "He's turning white."
Joseph and Brittany Pilkington were cooperative on Tuesday, police said. She eventually told detectives that she killed all three boys, police said, but no other details of officers' discussions with her were released.
Brittany Pilkington's uncle Joe Skaggs said Hailey and Noah had been with Logan County Children's Services after Gavin's death and were returned to their parents this month.
"Why would you give them back after a little boy just died and when you're in the middle of an investigation?" Skaggs, standing in front of his niece's apartment, told the Dispatch.
A voicemail system at the agency wouldn't accept messages after hours on Tuesday. But Goslee, the prosecutor, said Hailey and Noah were given back to their parents after a coroner determined that Gavin's and Niall's deaths were not suspicious.