The hostage-taker, identified as Gerald "Skip" Murphy, 38, was killed during the rescue. Officials found the bodies of homeowner Carmelita Stevens, 44, and her 13-year-old son, once they entered the home.
The freed children were a 4-year-old boy and 16 and 18-year-old girls.
Trenton police were called to the home after relatives of Stevens grew worried when they hadn't heard from her for a "long period of time." When officers forced entry into the home on Friday afternoon, "they immediately smelled the stench of a rotting corpse, and could see maggots."
Police spent almost two days negotiating with Murphy, who had taken the three children hostage upstairs. Murphy claimed he had a gun and explosives.
After determining that Murphy had a "deteriorating state of mind," officers entered the room and killed Murphy with a single shot, as they claim "he made a violent move toward one of the children."
Murphy already had a warrant out for not registering as a sex offender. He had a long criminal history which included assault, robbery, weapons and child endangerment.