Tampa mom charged in kids' slayings treated at hospital
Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.
TAMPA, Fla. — The woman who authorities say killed her teenage daughter and son because she was fed up with them talking back and being mouthy did not appear in court Saturday because she was being treated at a hospital for an unknown condition.
Authorities say Julie Powers Schenecker was taken to Tampa General Hospital shortly after midnight Saturday to be treated for a medical condition that existed before she was taken to jail. Hillsborough Sheriff's deputies — who oversee jail inmates — said they could not reveal Schenecker's medical condition, citing health care privacy laws. A jail spokesman said late Saturday that Schenecker was still at the hospital and that her first court appearance was pending.
An arrest affidavit said Schenecker shot her son twice in the head in the family car "for talking back" as she drove him to soccer practice. The report said Schenecker then drove to their upscale home and shot her daughter in the face inside the home.
Schenecker's mother called police Friday morning, and told them she was concerned after her daughter had sent an e-mail saying she was depressed. Officers found Schenecker drenched in blood on her back porch — and once they saw the teens, the scene was so troubling that a stress team was called to counsel the responding officers, a police spokeswoman said.
Calyx, the girl, was 16 and a cross country running star at her high school. The 13-year-old son, Beau, was in eighth grade.
Investigators believe the teens "never saw it coming," said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. Both were killed with a .38-caliber pistol. The arrest affidavit said the weapon was purchased five days earlier.
Schenecker's husband, Parker Schenecker, is a career Army officer attached to U.S. Central Command in Tampa. He was working in the Middle East when the shootings happened.
In 2008, the family moved to Tampa and bought a $448,000 home in a quiet, upscale suburban neighborhood. As the sun set Friday evening, residents walked by crime scene tape that sealed off the cul-de-sac that the Schenecker family lived on.
Neighbor Charanun Soodjinda said the Scheneckers "fit right in" when they arrived. The couple's two children often played in the cul-de-sac with other neighborhood kids, and Julie Schenecker seemed to be at home a lot.
"They seemed like a nice family," said Soodjinda, 38. "I never thought this would happen. How could you do that to your children?"
It was clear something had gone wrong: As police led Julie Schenecker to a patrol car Friday, she shook uncontrollably, her eyes wide and wild.
Before Friday's arrest, Schenecker had no criminal record in Florida. On Nov. 8, 2010, she was involved in a car crash in Tampa, according to records from the Florida Highway Patrol, and cited for careless driving.
The crash caused bodily injury and $26,500 of property damage, records show, but it does not explain who was injured or what property was damaged. Schenecker paid a $151 fine and attended traffic school, the report said.
The family appeared to be happy, at least according to friends — and they appeared to glow in photos posted online. The two teens were described as well-mannered by family friends. In several family portraits on Parker Schenecker's Facebook page, the four posed, smiling and relaxed.
"You all look so stunning and young. Did you find the fountain of youth and your not telling anyone!!!! WOW, you four look so good and healthy!!!" wrote one of Schenecker's friends on a dramatic black-and-white photo of the family.
Another photo shows the four in Santa hats. "What a great photo! You never disappoint! Your family is something to be proud of, look at how happy every one of you are!" a friend wrote in response.
Parker Schenecker also posted several photos of Calyx's cross country running team.
Julie Schenecker's Facebook page says she studied physical education at the University of Iowa. In May 2010, she posted a video of her husband; he appeared in a real estate company's video about looking for a home in Tampa.
She posted words of encouragement on her daughter's running photos, reminisced about skiing in Austria in the late '80s and added more than 400 friends.
On Aug. 24, she "liked" a link that read: "Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle."
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