NBC reports that the suspect contacted authorities on Monday and said that two boys, a 2-month-old infant and a 5-year-old, had died.
Tracy says the mother is believed to be the only one who was with was with the two little boys.
Pelima immigrated to the United States from Liberia at age 10 and is in the country legally, Tracy said.
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Kula Pelima called police on Monday to tell them she was concerned that she would be deported because she was concerned that her visa had lapsed, according to Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy, the Associated Press reported. "Our officer responded and let her know that we were not looking to arrest her". The officer even gave Pelima an immigration hotline number to call, while at the same time observing the older boy doing well during the visit.
Wilmington Police spent much of Monday, conducting a death investigation inside a three-story residence on the corner of 9th and Adams streets, where two children were found dead inside. It's not clear if she has a lawyer yet.
The boys' father is now incarcerated in York, Pennsylvania, according to Wilmington police chief Robert Tracy.
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There was a strong odor of gas in her apartment, but it was not clear if the gas stove had been turned on intentionally, the chief said. It was not immediately clear what caused the gas leak.
Remarking on the tragedy, Voffee Jabateh, a principal at African Cultural Alliance of North America, an outlet providing provides legal and health services to African immigrants said the memories of former antagonism and flight for survival may have played a part. Officers said after that call they rushed to the home and as they were going through the apartment they discovered the children's bodies in the bathtub.
That appears to have led Pelima to worry about her own status with immigration.
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