A 32-year-old Brazilian woman identified only as Kely O. S. was held in preventive detention in Portugal on Monday as a suspect in the deaths of her two children, ages 1 and 3, in a fire started intentionally, officials said.

The woman was wanted by Portuguese police since last Thursday for her suspected role in the deaths of the two youngsters, who died at the family home in a neighborhood of Alenques, a city located 47 kilometers (29 miles) north of Lisbon.

The Brazilian citizen, who was arrested Sunday, gave her deposition Monday during several hours in court at Vila Franca de Xira, where some of the residents yelled insults at her as she was led from the courthouse by police who took her to a prison in the capital.

Officials have provided no details about how the kids died nor about the statement made by their mother.

The woman, according to testimony by neighbors and family members cited in several Portuguese media, left the rented home where she lived with her husband and two children and phoned her mother-in-law to tell her about the fire and the children's death.

When police and firefighters arrived at the house they could do nothing to save the youngsters who, according to non-official accounts, died of asphyxiation from the smoke.

The woman is the primary suspect in the deaths of the minors and was the object of an intense three-day search by investigators, police spokesmen told Efe. EFE