LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A mother accused of bludgeoning her two children to death and stepping in front of a truck in an apparent murder-suicide attempt had bouts of depression and talked of suicide, friends said.
Sylvia Ewing, 40, was upgraded to fair condition Thursday at a Las Vegas hospital after police say she killed her children -- Julie, 4, and Phillip, 8 -- with a baseball bat Tuesday in an efficiency apartment near Nellis Air Force Base.
Friends and former neighbors said Ewing missed her family in the Philippines and was being treated for depression, but was a doting mother.
"She had talked about ending her life," said Jenny Levin, a friend and neighbor for six years in North Las Vegas. "I just told her ... not to think that way because her children need her. It really upset me."
Another former neighbor, Yvette Weigold, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Ewing's depression worsened about a year ago, but she saw a doctor and was under medication.
"We don't understand why she did what she did," Levin said. "She wasn't a violent person. She wouldn't raise a hand to her children."
Police said that after her husband, Daryl Ewing, went to work early Tuesday, Sylvia Ewing took their children to a nearby Wal-Mart and bought a baseball bat.
Las Vegas homicide Lt. Tom Monahan said police found a one-page note that left no doubt Ewing was depressed and killed the two children. He said the note did not indicate Ewing intended to kill herself.
Witnesses say she stepped into traffic Tuesday morning on busy North Las Vegas Boulevard and was struck by a truck. Authorities said she was critically injured.
Daryl Ewing, 46, found the children's bodies when he returned home later in the day.
Monahan said that when Ewing is released from the hospital, she will face two charges of murder with use of a deadly weapon.
Weigold described the Ewings as a friendly family that attended block parties and hosted barbecues before selling their home and moving recently to a two-room efficiency apartment while their new house was under construction.
Ron Folle, pastor at Lamb of God Lutheran Church, said Ewing and the children attended services often and he was impressed by the mother's concern for them.
"I can't imaging this woman killing anybody," Folle said. "She impressed me as a good mother, and that's what I'm having trouble with."