Patrick Clancy returned to his Duxbury, Massachusetts home on Jan. 24, 2023 to an unfathomable scene, and he didn’t even know the worst of it when he called 911 to report his wife had attempted suicide by jumping out of the top window of their home, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
The 34-year-old husband and father of three arrived at the Summer Street residence at around 6 p.m. Tuesday night to find his wife, Lindsay, and called 911 immediately, the Daily Mail states.
CBS reports that upon responding to the call, police discovered two of their three children “with obvious signs of trauma,” allegedly from strangulation, and their eight-month-old infant seriously injured and sent to the hospital.
The five-year-old girl and three-year-old boy didn’t survive after being taken to hospital, CBS adds. The Daily Mail names the daughter as Cora and the toddler son as Dawson. The infant has not been named publicly and remains in the hospital being treated, according to CBS.
WBZ-TV reported that sources said Lindsay was allegedly suffering from postpartum psychosis. She remains in hospital.
On Wednesday, Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz announced that an arrest warrant has been issued for 32-year-old Lindsay Clancy on two charges of murder. She will be arraigned when she is released from hospital.
“This is an unimaginable, senseless tragedy,” Cruz told media on Tuesday.
The community came together to gather flowers outside of the home where the tragedy took place, CBS says.
“Everybody is in a state of disbelief, it is tragic, the whole neighborhood is trying to process this whole thing,” said neighbor John Sullivan.
Lindsay was a labor and delivery nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), as confirmed by the hospital to CBS.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of this unthinkable tragedy. We extend our deepest sympathies to all those affected by these devastating events,” a statement from MGH read.
Cruz told media that no cause of death for the children will be released until the autopsies are completed.
Postpartum Psychosis is dangerous when untreated
Researchers Phillip J. Resnick and Susan Friedman Hatters note through several studies that over a third of filicides happen during pregnancy or the first postpartum year.
“Over one-third of the mothers were pregnant or in the postpartum year when they killed their children. The postpartum is the highest risk period in a woman’s lifetime for development of a mental illness,” Resnick and Hatters write in a 2005 article.
According to postpartum.net, the mother suffering from postpartum psychosis experiences a break from reality in which her delusions and hallucinations make sense to her in the moment, feel very real, and are often religious in nature. The site also notes that only a small number of women with this diagnosis experience commands of violence. Paranoia, suspiciousness, lack of sleep, hyper activity, and rapid mood swings can also be symptoms of this condition.
The Hatters and Resnick study adds that 69 percent of the mothers they studied experienced auditory hallucinations (hearing things), while 78 percent described hallucinations commanding they murder their child. Visual hallucinations were reported by a quarter of the women, while three quarters were delusional when they committed filicide.
Resnick, who has spent decades studying filicide, noted in another study that women experiencing psychosis often overlap with the mothers who murder their children for what he calls altruistic reasons, breaking it up into two sub-types: “Filicide as a part of extended suicide” and “Filicide to relieve pain and suffering.”
“For example, a psychotic altruistic motive would include taking a child’s life because of the delusional belief that the child was in acute danger of a worse fate. Alternately, a non-psychotic altruistic case would be taking the life because of a belief that a severely medically ill child would be better off,” Resnick writes.
Resnick’s studies linked 67 percent of maternal filicide cases to women with a history of mental illness.
A study by CF Lewis and SC Bunce, titled “Filicidal mothers and the impact of psychosis on maternal filicide”, found that few of these women had a criminal record. They were typically married, employed, had a high school level or higher education, and tended to be older than non-psychotic mothers who committed filicide.
In fact, the study found that these mothers had no previous contact with Child Protective Services (CPS), and that non-psychotic mothers “were more likely to beat their children to death and less likely to use weapons.”
These murders in particular have left family members reeling, and an aunt of the children told NBC the children were loved.
“They were just beautiful, beautiful children. Well cared for — they were just beautiful, that's it. They had a beautiful life,” Donna Jesse said.
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