NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- A suburban Chicago woman ordered her 7-year-old son and a kindergartner she was babysitting to kneel on a bedroom floor and pray, then stabbed them both dozens of times Wednesday as they begged for their lives, striking again and again as she told her son he was going to heaven, authorities said Thursday.
Officers who forced their way inside the locked apartment hours later found blood-spattered walls and the children's bodies in a master bedroom, prosecutors said. Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall said it was the most gruesome sight he'd seen in three decades on the job.
Elzbieta Plackowska, a 40-year-old immigrant from Poland, offered numerous explanations for the violence, including that she was battling the devil and trying to rid the children of evil, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said.
But she eventually told investigators that she stabbed the children and slashed their throats Tuesday night because she was angry that her husband, a truck driver, was often away. "She told the detectives that she thought by killing [her son] Justin, she would make her husband hurt the way she hurt in their relationship," Mr. Berlin said.
Ms. Plackowska told detectives that she found Justin and 5-year-old Olivia Dworakowski jumping on a bed, Mr. Berlin said.
"She had grabbed the knife, and she made both victims kneel and begin praying. She began stabbing her son Justin and told him he was going to heaven tonight. He pleaded for his life and told her to stop. But she continued stabbing him until he was dead," he said at a news conference after a judge ordered Ms. Plackowska held without bond. "She then turned her attention to 5-year-old Olivia and began stabbing her with the knife multiple times. She, as well, pleaded for her life, but the defendant continued to stab her until she was deceased."
Ms. Plackowska killed Olivia because she had witnessed the attack on Justin, Mr. Berlin said.
The slayings occurred at the home of Olivia's mother, who works nights as a nurse and had left her daughter in Ms. Plackowska's care before. Ms. Plackowska also stabbed two family dogs.
Investigators found two blood-stained knives; a steak knife in the kitchen sink and another in Ms. Plackowska's car, Mr. Berlin said.
Still covered in blood and with scratches on her hands, Ms. Plackowska drove to a Catholic church. Finding it closed, she called the church and left a message saying she had "done something bad" and needed help, Mr. Berlin said. She then went to a friend's home where her other, adult son was staying and said she had been robbed.
Police took Ms. Plackowska into custody at her friend's home, and prosecutors charged her with first-degree murder.