Mother Intended To Kill Daughters

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A woman accused of killing her 8-year-old daughter and shooting her 11-year-old daughter in the leg allegedly admitted her intent to kill both her children and take her own life.

Julie Ann Orellana, 46, of 291 Tall Pine Lane, Gerrardstown, was arraigned Friday on the felony charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

An extensive search of the area near Orellana’s home was conducted by multiple agencies to find Orellana after she fled on foot into the woods.

After being on the run for about 16 hours, West Virginia State Police said they were able to apprehend Orellana on Friday morning without incident.

Orellana was arrested at about 7:55 a.m. after police received notification from a resident that she was spotted in the area of Crow Foot Lane, near Tall Pine Lane, court records said.

The woman was found with a steak knife, a Taurus 9 mm automatic pistol and a “blood stained, six-page letter” stating her reasons for the shooting, police said.

Once in custody, Orellana allegedly disclosed that she intended to kill both of her daughters and take her own life, court records said.

Orellana is being held in the Eastern Regional Jail without bond, according to jail records.

A preliminary hearing has yet to be scheduled.

At about 4:08 p.m. Thursday, West Virginia State Police Sgt. W.R. Garrett responded to another residence on Tall Pine Lane for a report of a child who arrived there with a gunshot wound to the leg, records said.

According to police, the 11-year-old girl, Olivia Orellana, said her mother had shot her in the leg and had shot her sister, who was still at the 291 Tall Pine Lane residence.

She told police her mother asked her and her sister to go upstairs to find kittens stuck under a bed after the girls arrived home from school, court records said.

The victim also told police that once inside the bedroom, her mother allegedly began firing a gun, striking her in the leg and hitting her sister, records said. Olivia Orellana said she was able to jump out the window of an adjacent bedroom to get help.

The 8-year-old daughter, who was identified as Eliza Orellana, was found by police in the home “deceased on the living room floor from multiple stab wounds and gunshot wounds to the chest, abdomen, neck and back,” Garrett said in the criminal complaint filed in magistrate court.

Also inside the home, officers found multiple spent shell casings throughout the residence as well as multiple unfired 9 mm rounds, court records said.

During the initial investigation, police said Julie Orellana left the scene in a white Honda SUV that was later located abandoned on Cashew Lane.

Berkeley County School officials said Friday that Orellana worked as a guidance counselor from August 2012 through January 2015.

“Following a leave of absence, she resigned in February 2016,” said Berkeley County Schools Director of Communication Elaine Bobo. “She served Mill Creek Intermediate, Mountain Ridge Intermediate and Valley View Elementary during this time.”

Bobo expressed the school’s condolences to the family.

“The loss of life and injury to a child is especially hard to understand, and as a school community, we are grieving,” she said. “Our most sincere condolences are extended to this family and their friends.”

Social media posts indicated Friday morning that many parents in South Berkeley contemplated keeping their kids home from school Friday before being notified of Julie Orellana’s arrest.

Although schools operated normally, Bobo said Berkeley County Schools Crisis teams were deployed to support students and those in the school community who were feeling the effect of the situation.

Police said Eliza Orellana is being transported to the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to be performed.


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