McCANDLESS (KDKA) — A McCandless woman is facing homicide and attempted homicide charges, accused of drowning her 3-year-old son and nearly killing her 6-year-old son in the bathtub of their family home.
As police continue their investigation and the older child remains hospitalized, new details are emerging about the 40-year-old woman’s past.
Sources confirm Laurel Michelle Schlemmer was investigated by police and CYF less than a year ago.
KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:
Sources confirm she backed up over her children with her van. Sources confirm one of the boys suffered broken bones, and the other boy had what are described as internal injuries. Both boys were hospitalized.
Sources confirm both McCandless Police and CYF investigated, determined it was an accident and did not recommend criminal charges.
CYF, in its report, did not determine the situation “indicated abuse.”
KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:
Neighbor Heather Lucci says the boys completely recovered.
“It was unfortunate, but everything turned out well. It was in the driveway. Nothing was anybody’s fault whatsoever, so it was just unfortunate,” said Lucci.
Now, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office is involved.
They are taking a closer look at the driveway incident, as well as another look at an incident at Ross Park Mall in 2009, trying to determine whether action could or should have been taken to avert a tragedy.
In September of 2009, Ross Township Police say Schlemmer left one of her kids in a car in the mall parking lot. The temperature inside that car reached more than 100 degrees, investigators said.
When she returned, she apologized to police and later pleaded guilty to leaving a child in an unattended car.
KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports:
Meanwhile, those who knew Laurel Michelle Schlemmer are trying to cope with the tragedy.
By Wednesday evening, people had placed a collection of flowers and teddy bears outside the Schlemmer family’s home in McCandless.
Pastor Dan Hendley was with Mark Schlemmer shortly after he got word of what happened along Saratoga Drive in McCandless Tuesday morning.
It’s a tragedy beyond words.
“My first impulse is to pray, because at a point like that, what humans can do is very limited,” Pastor Hendley, of North Park Church, said.
The Schlemmer family has been members of North Park Church for nearly a decade.
Laurel Michelle Schlemmer was a single woman when she first started attending.
KDKA’s Christine D’Antonio Reports:
She and Mark married there, and through the years have remained active members.
Pastor Hendley describes Laurel Michelle Schlemmer as a quiet woman. He says what’s happened has left him and the community puzzled.
“There’s some things we do know, but there’s a great deal we don’t know,” Pastor Hendley said. “And a great deal of what happened here… what has gone on with Michelle is a mystery to all of us and a painful one.”
There are also new details about Laurel Michelle Schlemmer’s career.
She was a school teacher at Kerr Elementary School and at Dorseyville Middle School in the Fox Chapel School District from 1999 until 2004.
A district spokeswoman said, “Our thoughts are with the family at this time.”
Pastor Hendley says he spoke with Mark Schlemmer Wednesday morning.
Mark Schlemmer, who didn’t sleep well last night, is staying with a close friend just trying to make it through this time with his faith and family.
“Mark is like most folks in this certain phase of the shock phase, and he’s very eager to do what he can to support his sons,” Pastor Hendley said.
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