MCCANDLESS, Pa. (AP) — A woman said she heard "crazy voices" telling her to push her sons underwater before she sat on the boys in the bathtub, drowning her 3-year-old and leaving his 6-year-old brother in critical condition, police said.
Laurel Michelle Schlemmer, 40, told detectives she "thought she could be a better mother" to a third son, the oldest, "if the other two boys weren't around, and they would be better off in heaven," a police complaint said.
Schlemmer, a stay-at-home mom in this town about 10 miles north of Pittsburgh, was jailed without bond Wednesday on charges including criminal homicide and attempted homicide as prosecutors also began reviewing another episode involving her and her children.
Prosecutors would not discuss what they were looking into, but Schlemmer's pastor said she backed into the same two boys with her van 10 months ago in the driveway of the boys' grandparents in a nearby town and that he counseled the family afterward.
The van encounter was an accident, North Park Church Pastor Dan Hendley said in an interview.
"I never had any reason to believe otherwise," he said. It did not result in any charges.
In her interview with detectives, Schlemmer said she tried to drown her sons Luke and Daniel after her 7-year-old son left for school Tuesday. She put the older boy on his school bus at about 8:40 a.m., the complaint said, then told the younger boys to take off their pajamas and get into the bathtub.
Luke was pronounced dead Tuesday morning. Daniel was reported in critical condition at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC.
"Schlemmer said after the boys got into the tub, she got into the tub 'fully clothed,' and 'crazy voices' were telling her to push the boys down into the water," the complaint said. "Schlemmer explained that at one point, she (was) sitting on top of boys while they were under the water in the tub."
Schlemmer pulled both boys out of the bathtub and laid them on the bathroom floor while she called 911. She told police she never attempted CPR because she did not know how to. Her husband, Mark, was working at the time, neighbors said.
Before breaking down in tears, a neighbor in this quiet, upscale bedroom community who did not want to give her name said the family did everything together and seemed very happy. Neighbors describe the family as religious.