Boy whose mother attempted to drown him appears to be brain-dead

A Pittsburgh-area woman held without bail has been charged with drowning her 3-year-old son. Doctors say his brother, 6, shows no brain activity.
By Frances Burns   |   April 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM   |   Comments

PITTSBURGH, April 3 (UPI) -- A judge ordered psychiatric evaluations Thursday for a Pittsburgh-area woman who allegedly drowned one son in the bathtub and tried to kill another.

During a hearing for Laurel Schlemmer, a prosecutor told Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning that doctors at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh report the surviving boy has no brain activity. Daniel Schlemmer, 6, was on life support at the hospital.

Manning also denied bail for Schlemmer. She appeared via videolink from the Allegheny County Jail.

Schlemmer, 40, has been charged with killing her youngest son, Luke, 3, and the attempted murder of Daniel.

Manning said Schlemmer would be evaluated at the behavior unit at the Allegheny County Jail and by a psychiatrist selected by her family.

Schlemmer was arrested Tuesday after police, responding to her 911 call, found the boys at her home in McCandless. An older brother, 7, was at school and her husband at work.

Investigators said Schlemmer at first told them the boys drowned accidentally but then admitted she got in the tub and sat on them. She said she believed she could do a better job with her eldest son, and that the younger boys would be better off in heaven.

At least two previous incidents have been reported of Schlemmer harming her children. Northern Regional police were notified by a hospital after the two younger boys were injured when their mother hit them with her car during a visit to her parents.

"Mrs. Schlemmer advised the doctors that she had accidentally run over her two children while moving her vehicle at her parents' home in Marshall Township," Chief Robert Ammann said.

In 2009, Schlemmer admitted leaving a toddler unattended in a car outside a shopping mall.

[Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

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