Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children

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8 children killed in home in northern Australia
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Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) A woman reacts at the scene of a mutliple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Dominic Chaplin/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Police attend the scene of a mutliple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Dominic Chaplin/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: A Member of the public weeps at the scene of a memorial which is located in the park next the home of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 20, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 37-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 14 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women has been arrested for murder. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Police attend the scene of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) A woman reacts at the scene of a mutliple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Dominic Chaplin/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: A hand written note lays in a memorial of flowers toys and candles in a park next to the home of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 20, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 37-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 14 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women has been arrested for murder. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Police block the road outside a house where eight children have been found dead the Cairns suburb of Manoora, Australia, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Police said when they got to the house, they found the bodies of the children inside the home. The victims range in age from 18 months to 15 years.(AP Photo/Graeme Bint)
Locals sit on the sidewalk near a house police have blocked off as a crime scene where eight children have been found dead in the Cairns suburb of Manoora, Australia, Friday Dec. 19, 2014. Police said when they got to the house, they found the bodies of the children inside the home. The victims range in age from 18 months to 15 years.(AP Photo/Graeme Bint)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Police attend the scene of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Police attend the scene of a mutliple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Dominic Chaplin/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: A member of the public lays a a bunch of flowers across the road from the scene of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Police attend the scene of a mutliple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Dominic Chaplin/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: Jah Sher Tabaui looks on with her grandfather at a memorial of flowers toys and candles in a park next to the home of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 20, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 37-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 14 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women has been arrested for murder. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Police attend the scene of a mutliple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Dominic Chaplin/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Lit candles are seen resting across the road from the scene of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) An ambulance attends the scene of a mutliple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Stuart Frost/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: A candlelight vigil is held in the street where a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 19, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 34-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 15 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women is said to be stable and cooperating with police. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: Forensic police officers attend the scene of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 20, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 37-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 14 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women has been arrested for murder. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: Acting Queensland Premier Tim Nicholls speaks during a press conference in a park next to the home of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 20, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 37-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 14 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women has been arrested for murder. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: A Member of the public weeps at the scene of a memorial which is located in the park next the home of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 20, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. Eight children have been found dead and a 37-year-old woman is in hospital with chest injuries at a home in North Queensland. The children, aged 18 months to 14 years have reportedly been stabbed and the women has been arrested for murder. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
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SYDNEY (AP) - An Australian woman was arrested for murder in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman's home.

The 37-year-old woman, who is recovering in a hospital from stab wounds, was under guard and speaking with police, Queensland Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said. She has not yet been charged.

Police haven't said how the children died. But Asnicar said they're examining several knives in the home that may have been the weapon used to kill them.

The children ranged in age from 18 months to 14 years, Asnicar said. The woman is thought to be the mother of seven of the children. The eighth is believed to be her niece.

Queensland police were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries. When they got to the house, they found the bodies of the children.

Eight Children Killed in 'Mass Stabbing' in Australia

The woman, whose name has not been released, was also found in the home with the children, suffering from stab wounds to the chest. Asnicar said she is in stable condition, lucid and talking to police.

"We're not looking for anybody else - we're comfortable that the community at large is safe," Asnicar said.

A coroner was conducting autopsies to determine the causes of death, and police were continuing to comb through the house for evidence.

"They're looking to establish 100 percent what happened in that house when these offenses were committed," Asnicar said.

He dismissed rumors that the house had been the subject of calls from the Department of Social Services.

"It's not a problem house as has been speculated," he said. "This is an ordinary neighborhood - a lot of good people, a lot of kids in the area. This is something that has caught everybody by surprise. It's just an absolutely tragic thing."

Lisa Thaiday, who said she was the injured woman's cousin, said earlier that one of the woman's other sons, a 20-year-old, came home and found his brothers and sisters dead inside the house.

"I'm going to see him now, he needs comforting," Thaiday said. "We're a big family ... I just can't believe it. We just found out (about) those poor babies."

The tragedy comes as Australia is still reeling from the shock of a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe. On Monday, a gunman burst into the cafe in the heart of the city and took 18 hostages. Two hostages were dead along with the gunman after police stormed in 16 hours later in a bid to end the siege. Police had earlier said there were 17 hostages in the cafe, but revised the number after a new count.

"The news out of Cairns is heartbreaking," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement. "All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened. This is an unspeakable crime. These are trying days for our country."

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