Chris Stalinski was in bed when she heard screams and couldn't imagine what was happening in the mobile home next door, where a mother lived with her teen daughter.
When Stalinski learned what law enforcement officials unraveled, it was hard to comprehend: The mother's 13-year-old daughter and two friends allegedly tried to kill her in her sleep.
Law enforcement officials now suspect it was the third time in a matter of hours the teens — two girls and a boy — had tried to kill the mother, possibly because she was strict with a curfew and critical of the girl's friends.
"It was just because of problems at home," sheriff's Deputy Osvaldo Pelayes said.
The mother did not seek medical attention after the other attacks, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Rose, who declined to elaborate.
No one answered the door Tuesday at the white and tan mobile home where Stalinski said the incident occurred.
Authorities have not released the names of the mother or the teens. Prosecutors declined to comment about the possible filing of charges.
The arrests of the three teens for investigation of attempted murder stunned this city of 90,000 in the Mojave Desert that serves as a pit stop for motorists traveling between Southern California and Las Vegas.
Mark McKinney, superintendent of Hesperia Unified School District, said sheriff's investigators came to Ranchero Middle School on Tuesday and pulled a boy from class.
"It's a terrible tragedy," he said. "This is our last day of school."
Stalinski, 64, a retired in-home caregiver, said she heard screaming, peered out a window and saw a girl bolt down the street. She said she thought the worst.
"All of a sudden I heard this screaming and screaming, and I thought to myself someone must have died next door," she said.
When authorities first arrived, the mother told them her daughter had been kidnapped. But when they returned just after dawn Tuesday, the woman told them the daughter and two of her 14-year-old friends had tried to kill her in her bed, authorities said.
Neighbor Felipa Avalos said she was waiting for her husband to come home from work around midnight when she heard a woman screaming and rushed outside to help.
"She was screaming, 'a phone, a phone,'" Avalos, a 30-year-old mother of four, said in Spanish. "I called the police."
Avalos said the woman told her three kids had attacked her inside her mobile home, and one of them hit her in the head. Avalos said the woman told her she didn't get a good look at their faces and was worried about her daughter and wanted to go look for her.
Avalos said she learned from the media that converged on the mobile home park that the daughter was among those suspected in the attack.
"It's something that one can't believe," she said. "I don't know what might have happened, what the girl might have in her head to do those things."