Second boy in bathtub incident has no brain activity

The second of two children held down in a bathtub of a McCandless home Tuesday has no brain activity and is on life support.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrini told Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning that information during a short hearing for their mother, Laurel Schlemmer, 40, who is charged with homicide and related charges.

The younger son, Luke, who was 3, died Tuesday.

The older son, Daniel, 6, is at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

A third son, who is 7 and was at school at the time of the incident, was not harmed.

According to police, Ms. Schlemmer, a former teacher, called 911 Tuesday morning and reported that her children might have drowned in the bathtub. She later told police that she sat on the two younger boys in the bathtub of water so she could send them to heaven, police said.

Judge Manning ordered that Ms. Schlemmer undergo an evaluation at the Allegheny County Jail's behavior clinic, and also gave permission for a psychiatrist retained by the family to evaluate the woman later today.

Ms. Schlemmer, who appeared in the courtroom via video monitor from the jail wearing a black suicide vest, said nothing and looked blank.

Her defense attorney, Michael Machen, had no comment following the hearing.

Northern Regional police last year investigated an incident in which Ms. Schlemmer hit her two youngest children with her car at her parents' home on Aviary Court in Marshall Township.

Chief Robert Amann said doctors at UPMC Passavant-Cranberry contacted police April 16, 2013, after the children were brought there for treatment.

"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," the chief said in a statement.

The Allegheny County district attorney's office has said it was not contacted during that investigation and reports from Northern Regional regarding that incident are now part of the homicide investigation.

Kait Gillis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Welfare, said their records indicate that Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families workers evaluated the situation while the children were in the hospital and determined it was an accident. Because of that determination, the state was not called in to investigate, she said.

Judge Manning, as a formality, also denied bond.

Paula Reed Ward: or 412-263-2620.


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