Child deaths in Lancaster: Father charged with murder of his two young children

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Wednesday, November 1, 2023, 10:28 p.m

The two children killed in Lancaster were sisters, ages 3 and 7

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) — A man has been accused of attacking his three young children and killing two of them in Lancaster, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Prospero Guadalupe Serna was charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of assault on a child under 8 resulting in death and one count of child abuse.

The investigation began just before midnight Saturday when the children’s mother called 911 for help and said her children had been harmed.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office alleges the fatal attack occurred while Serna was home with his four children and their mother.

Responding officers found two of the children, Ziasia and Najila Serna, beaten and stabbed. Ziasia was 7 years old and Najila was 3.

The other two children, one of whom was injured, were found hiding in the house. All children were under 10 years old.

If convicted as charged, Serna faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

The night the department responded, videos from the scene showed a physical struggle to arrest Serna, which required the use of multiple officers to pin him to the ground and take him into custody.


Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies took a man into custody after responding to a report of child abuse in Lancaster on Saturday, October 28, 2023.

Don Luis Meza

“It’s extremely difficult,” said Lt. Daniel Vizcarra of the Sheriff’s Department on Sunday. “This is traumatic for everyone involved. All the deputies who responded, all the parties involved, the investigators, everyone.”

The county Department of Children and Family Services declined to say whether the family had been investigated for possible child abuse in the past, citing confidentiality laws.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the sheriff’s homicide unit at 323-890-5500.

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Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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