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Police seek mother of slain children

BETHLEHEM - Barrow County sheriff's deputies and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation continue to search for the mother of two children who were found stabbed to death in their Bethlehem home Wednesday.

Felicia Hill, 26, also known as Felicia Belle Williams, is charged with aggravated assault in the attack on Barnes, said Chief Deputy Murray Kogod of the Barrow County Sheriff's Department. No charges have been filed against Felicia Hill in the deaths of her children.

Elexis Nicole Hill, 9, and James Ross Hill Jr., 4, were found dead when deputies arrived at 691 Tanners Bridge Circle at 5:18 p.m. Wednesday.

Felicia Hill's father, identified by neighbors as Charles Barnes, also suffered from head lacerations. He was treated at the scene.

"She is not a suspect," Kogod said Thursday. "She was here and we want to talk to her."

Kogod said someone called 911 and hung up about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. Another call came in moments later, Kogod said, but the caller didn't speak. Deputies went to the home near the Walton County line and found the children had suffered fatal stab wounds.

Felicia Hill's mother, Annette Barnes, was away from home running an errand at the time of the incident.

Felicia Hill has arrest records in Winder and Barrow County going back to 2002 for prostitution, burglary, theft, shoplifting and parole violations. She was arrested in November for allegedly shoplifting a roll of lottery tickets from the Kangaroo convenience store in Winder.

Patricia Hill, the children's paternal grandmother, lives only one street away from the home in which the children lived with their maternal grandparents. Patricia Hill said she couldn't speculate on her daughter-in-law's state of mind Wednesday.

"I saw her Christmas Day, the day after, and the day after that and she was herself and OK, talking normal," Patricia Hill said.

She recalls her grandchildren having unique characteristics.

"Elexis was real intellectual and got good grades," Hill said. "She never knew a stranger. Little Man was somewhat reserved. He didn't take to just anybody."

At age 4, James Jr. had already shared his plans for the future.

"The little boy said he was going to grow up fast and have a really good life," neighbor Tony Ramey said.

Felicia Hill and James Ross Hill Sr., the children's father, had been married for 10 years, but had separated nearly five years ago, said Willie Strickland, the children's uncle. He said the children were well-behaved and loved animals. James Jr. had recently gotten a goat he named Spot.

"They were real mannerable, real respectful children," Strickland said. "Always saying, 'Yes ma'am, No ma'am.' The little man had his little rubber chicken boots that he wore religiously."

Ramey, who has lived three doors down from the Barnes' home for 10 years, described the injured grandfather as a man who loved to barbecue.

"They were good church-going people and the little boy was a tough little guy in those rubber boots," Ramey said. "The little girl liked to sing church songs and play her little guitar before they left for services."

Neighbors and family members were unsure whether Felicia Hill lived at the Tanner's Bridge Circle home with her children.

The one-story brown house with white trim remained roped off with crime scene tape Thursday. Kogod said leads are coming in, and he encourages the community to keep calling with tips.

Patricia Hill is just trying to make meaning of the tragedy.

"I just want to know why," she said. "It made me feel empty."