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Emily Sparks

O’FALLON, Ill. (AP) – A southern Illinois woman is facing charges she planned to kill her three young children with carbon dioxide, authorities said.

Emily C. Sparks, 29, of O’Fallon, is being held in the St. Clair County Jail on three counts of attempted murder, the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s office said.

Her two sons and daughter, ages 3, 5, and 7, are being cared for by relatives, O’Fallon police Lt. Nicholas Schmidt said.

Police received a tip that Sparks had planned to kill her children Dec. 4 and learned that Sparks had purchased a canister of carbon dioxide, Schmidt said.

“She was going to open the canister of carbon dioxide inside the closed passenger compartment of the vehicle with her three children inside,” said Schmidt, the lead investigator in the case.

Sparks had planned to kill herself with the children, but changed her mind at the last minute, Schmidt said.

A message seeking comment was left for Sparks’ attorney Wednesday.