SAN ANTONIO, TX – After a woman killed her two young children and her mother in a triple murder-suicide last month in their San Antonio apartment, court records are providing insight on the events that transpired before the shooting.
According to KTXS, the woman, identified as 37-year-old Karina Sornoza Deitering, was engaged in a custody battle with the children’s father, Jason Deitering.
Jason was the one that found Karina, his mother-in-law, and kids dead in the apartment. The children were identified as 5-year-old Clara and 3-year-old Robert.
Jason and Karina began divorce proceedings in October of 2018 in Mississippi. According to Jason’s lawyer, Charles E. Hardy, Karina had “deceptively moved to Texas under the auspices of having a temporary job at USAA. It was later determined that the job never existed.”
According to Hardy, both parties had agreed that “while a court-ordered custody evaluation was being conducted, the two children would live with the father for three weeks at their home in Mississippi and with the mother for three weeks in their temporary home in Texas. The parents also agreed that exchanges of the children would occur in Orange, Texas.”
In January of this year Karina was granted a temporary restraining order against Jason, preventing him from taking possession or having access to the children after an allegation of sexual abuse was made.
The outcry prompted the appointed judge to appoint the "top sexual abuse expert in San Antonio to interview the child who the mom alleged made the outcry.”
A forensic psychologist was ordered to evaluate the outcry and interview a variety of individuals including the children, their parents, and law enforcement officials who were involved in the case.
Although the mother delayed in taking the child to the expert, the psychologist ultimately testified in the second day of the hearing (in April) that the child reported to her that her mother had told her that she was abused while the child was sleeping.”
On April 24, three days before the murder, Judge David A. Canales ruled that custody be awarded to Jason for the “safety and welfare" of the children. Karina was ordered to surrender the children to their father immediately and Jason would stop paying child support on May 1st. Judge Canales called the previous visitation agreement “inappropriate.”
Karina was granted “ongoing visitation rights as the estranged couple's divorce headed to trial.” The children would be with their father from April 24 to May 8 and their mother would have custody from May 8 to May 15. The duration of Karina's visits was set to increase to two weeks as the summer wore on.
"This type of false allegation of sexual abuse is devastating to not only the children involved but also our system of justice. After considering the testimony of the parents, additional witnesses, the court-appointed custody evaluator, and the sex abuse expert, the judge determined that it was in the children's best interest to live primarily with the father in Mississippi until the trial of the case,” said Hardy. “In spite of the custody award to the father, the judge allowed the mother liberal visitation."
On Saturday, April 25, Jason contacted SAPD to conduct a welfare check on his children after Karina failed to show up for the custody exchange in Orange, TX.
Police were unable to contact Karina and according to SAPD “they did not have the authority to enter the apartment based on the information that was provided by the caller or neighbors.”
Jason asked for two welfare checks before he headed to the apartment on Monday, April 27. According to Jason, Karina had no history of violence or had sent any threatening messages.
"We have seen this happen over the years in the past where parents who have lost custody or are involved in divorce have resorted to murder-suicide," said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
A funeral for Clara and Robert will be held on May 30 in D'Iberville, Mississippi.
"Despite the fact that she took their lives, Jason has decided to bury the children with their mother," said Hardy. "Everyone involved feels that this is an incredible act of forgiveness."