DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A mother allegedly strangled her three young children to death before taking her own life in Danbury, police said.

Danbury police said Sonia Loja, 36, strangled Junior Panjon, 12, Joselyn Panjon, 10, and Jonael Panjon, 5, to death inside their home at 10 Whaley St. then hung herself in the shed in the backyard.

Officials responded to the home after receiving a 911 call from someone distraught and crying around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, asking police to check on the family. Police made the grim discovery just minutes later.

The family is Ecuadorian. Wilson Hernandez says there is a large Ecuadorian community in the greater Danbury area. Many come to the city of Danbury to go to church, eat at restaurants, and shop. 

Hernandez said many families from Ecuador have worked hard and overcame many challenges to live in America.

“Everybody is trying to do the best, to contribute to the community, to build their own lives without depending on the government and others. But sometimes we need others.”

Hernandez is a member of the Ecuador civic center, a place where people can celebrate Ecuadorian culture. He hopes the community can come together and be strong after this tragedy. 

“Everybody needs others,” Hernandez said. “We are not islands. We are a community.” 

Neighbors said before Wednesday, that it looked like a happy household.

“The kids were really good kids. They were really friendly kids,” neighbor Ralph Baugher said. “When you drive by, they would wave and say, ‘How are you doing?’ Wave back to them, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ They were always happy kids. Always playing in the yard, having fun, laughing all the time.”

“Why? I have no idea why,” Cindy Owens, another neighbor, said. “Something happened.”

Investigators said two other adults lived with Loja and the children, but they were not home when the police arrived. Police have not yet publicly identified the two other adults.

The video below is from News 8 at 11 on July 27, 2022.

“A truly horrible event occurred in our city yesterday [Wednesday] and we mourn the tragic loss of life,” Mayor Dean Esposito wrote in a statement. “In the coming days, mental health and counseling services will be provided through collaboration with the Danbury Public Schools and the City of Danbury. Our community grieves for the innocent lives taken from us. We will get through this together.”

The mayor’s office, various city departments, along with Nuvance Health, are providing services to the family and friends of the victims, police said.

Danbury police said the investigation remains active and ongoing.

Autopsies are scheduled for Thursday at the office of the chief medical examiner in Farmington to officially determine the causes of death.