QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — Fang Chi-Xue’s neighbors in her modest Quincy neighborhood didn’t know her well. Once in a while, they would see her outside with her children. She would wave and say hello politely in Mandarin. On Friday, Chi-Xue lay in a hospital bed after she allegedly killed her 9-year-old daughter, tried to strangle her 14-year-old daughter and stabbed herself in the abdomen, killing her unborn fetus.
Chi-Xue, 38, who was 7 1/2 months pregnant, was charged with one count of first-degree murder and assault with intent to murder.
Authorities were awaiting the results of an autopsy before deciding whether she would be charged with a second count of murder in the death of her unborn baby.
David Traub, a spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney William Keating, said the timeline of the violence was still uncertain, but said Chi-Xue’s husband came home to find the 9-year-old dead after receiving a call at work from his 14-year-old daughter. He called 911, and police arrived about 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
Traub said the 14-year-old girl suffered minor injuries when her mother tried to strangle her. The 9-year-old girl, Wen Xue, suffered stab wounds to her wrists, and authorities were also investigating whether she was poisoned ”based on some indications at the scene,” Traub said.
Traub said the violence appeared to have been sparked by an argument Chi-Xue had earlier in the evening with her husband.
Chi-Xue was treated at Boston Medical Center for self-inflicted stab sounds to the arms and abdomen. A judge ordered her to undergo a 20-day competency evaluation. She will be held without bail at Worcester State Hospital during that period. She will not be arraigned on the charges until after the evaluation.
Randy Gioia, her lawyer, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Friday.
Traub said prosecutors will wait until an autopsy is completed before deciding whether to also charge Chi-Xue with murder in the death of her unborn baby. He said the medical examiner must determine whether the fetus was viable outside the womb.
Neighbors said the family had moved in several years ago to the neighborhood in the Wollaston section of Quincy, just south of Boston. The neighborhood is made up largely of Chinese and Vietnamese families.
Yanmei Lin, who lives across the street, said she occasionally saw Chi-Xue outside holding her younger child’s hand, and they would exchange brief greetings in Mandarin. Lin, 26, said she was shaken by the killing. ”It’s scary,” she said.
Elizabeth Kennedy, 76, who raised six children in the neighborhood, said she walked her two dogs past the home every day, but never saw the family.
”I could cry right now,” she said. ”I feel for that woman. It must have been a lot of pressure on her to do that.”
Alison Goodwin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Families, said the agency is investigating, but would not say whether the department had been involved with the family in the past.
There have been five domestic slayings in Norfolk County in the past month, a pattern Keating called ”unnerving.”
In late March, Kerby Revelus stabbed his 17-year-old sister to death in the town of Milton, then decapitated his 5-year-old sister before turning on his 9-year-old sister, who called police. Responding officers broke down the home’s door and shot the 23-year-old man dead.
Another man is facing charges for allegedly killing his blind aunt March 23 in the Plainville apartment they shared.
The roughly 400-square mile county stretches from the Rhode Island border to the edge of Boston, and is made up of many middle-class and affluent communities.