Second Schlemmer Son Dies After Mother, Laurel, Drowns Them in Bathtub


Daniel Schlemmer, the second son of the Pittsburgh mother who drowned both he and his brother, Luke, in a hot tub, has died.  Laurel Michelle Schlemmer, 40, drowned her children, 6-year-old Daniel and 3-year-old Luke, and blamed the “crazy voices” in her head.  Daniel had been on life support with no discernible brain activity since Tuesday, when the horrible act occurred.  Luke passed away on Tuesday within an hour of his arrival at the hospital.

Laurel has told authorities that after her third son left the house on Tuesday morning and headed for school, “crazy voices” began telling her to drown her boys in the bathtub of their McCandless, PA home.  She added that it was her belief that her boys would be “better off in heaven,” and that she would be a better mother to her third child if they were dead.  After putting her boys in the tub fully clothed, Laurel sat on them in order to keep them underwater.  After her children were still, she told investigators that she removed them from the tub and placed them on the bathroom floor.  She then removed her own wet clothing and placed it in a garbage bag.  She next walked into the study of her home at about 9:40 a.m. and phoned 911, telling the dispatcher multiple stories regarding what had occurred.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that her initial version of events was that she had discovered the boys unconscious in the tub where they had been playing.

During her approximately five minute call with an Allegheny County 911 dispatcher, Laurel Schlemmer stayed fairly calm, although at times her shaking voice indicated that she may cry.  For the duration of the call she was polite, calling the dispatcher “sir.”  After around three minutes, the dispatcher asked her to go back into the bathroom and begin CPR on the boys.  He asked Laurel if there was anything in the mouths of the boys, and she replied, “Just water.” As paramedics arrived, she said “thank you” and hung up.  She next directed the first responders to head upstairs and called for her own mother, who was at the home while the events occurred.

After her arrest, Laurel’s pastor, Dan Hendley, came forward to relate an incident that occurred years ago in which Laurel backed her van into the boys in their grandparents’ driveway.  At first it was thought an accident but in the face of Tuesday’s events, it now seems much more sinister.  She was questioned by police after the incident but was never indicted.

Prosecutors charged Laurel with criminal homicide, child endangerment and aggravated assault after the death of Luke. She is in the Allegheny County jail on suicide watch and is awaiting a psychiatric evaluation.  No bail was set during her bond hearing on Thursday during which she remained silent, letting her attorney, Michael Machen, speak for her.

Hendley has been in contact with Laurel’s husband and the father of the boys, Mark Schlemmer.  He stated that Mark is obviously supporting his son during this time, but that he would also like the chance to support Laurel, to “hug her and express his love for her.”  According to Hendley, Mark is distressed at what has happened, but he is not angry at Laurel.

By Jennifer Pfalz

Daily Mail
New York Daily News
Post Gazette

12 Responses to "Second Schlemmer Son Dies After Mother, Laurel, Drowns Them in Bathtub"

  1. sonialittle   April 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

    The car accident was April 2013, not YEARS ago. It was less than a year after she finally did kill them. Also, her mother has alzheimers and had a stroke last year. She doesn’t even know what is going on so her daughter can do whatever she likes. In fact I think the grandmother was in the house downstairs when she killed them. Sickening! Schlemmer is sick but she killed and then lied, hid evidence and deceived others into thinking she was fine just minutes before she did this. She is twisted and her husband seems not right either. I hope the older sibling can get help, this is most devastating for him.

  2. Val   April 5, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Hkk2 The husband and mother would know something was wrong because they knew her intimately and saw how she treated the two boys as opposed by how she treated her eldest. I agree with Joan. Nobody can tell me (whether I know them or not) that after running the boys over with the car putting both in the hospital with broken bones and internal injuries a few years ago that since that time that there were not questionable times when she was CAUGHT saying or doing something very uncalled for or being physically abusive to one or both of the younger boys. This woman did something very calculating and evil and it didn’t start last week.

  3. Jared   April 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    What is happening in this world? Why? Why? I’m sick to my stomach. How can this happen? And all I can think is WHY?!

  4. Deana Bossio   April 5, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Find out if and what mental health drugs she was on. “Mental health” drugs cause hallucinations, delusional thoughts and suicide or homicidal ideations. Pray for all of them.

  5. IsabellaYB   April 5, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    “Laurel’s pastor, Dan Hendley,” Interested to hear more about what church she went to, her religious beliefs and why two innocent little boys “are better off in heaven.” Reminded of Andrea Yates and the pressure she felt under Bill Gothard’s teachings.

  6.   April 5, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    This is very strange because there was another mother several years ago who drowned her children, Andrea Yates I think, and her husband also wanted to support her and wasn’t mad at her. What kind of men are these? Weak and wimpy…that’s why their evil wives are able to control them. Or, perhaps, their wimpyness drives their wives to insanity. Either way, I hope this woman dies a horrible death. If you really love your children and think they’ll be better in heaven, you don’t kill them in a horribly torturous manner like sitting on them till they drown. The other son, by the way, should be adopted. This dad wouldn’t have a clue of how to make him a man.

  7. JUDY WATSON   April 5, 2014 at 7:36 pm


  8. hlk2   April 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    So Joan. why would the husband know anything? Why would her mother? Do you know something the rest of us don’t know about. The car incident was years ago. That has no bearing on this. IF it did she would of been charged then. Your reading way to much into this. I’m doubting you could of seen this happening either. So give it a rest.

  9. Laura   April 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    How sad. Praying for the third son.

  10. sean a   April 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Hes not angry?! She killed his two sons. I understand that shes still a mother to the other son, but what makes him so special to her other than this “voice thing”? it sounds like she tried to kill all of them before. It also sounds alot more premeditated than some psychiatric disorder as i am sure the psychiatrists will try to portray.

    • DavidPun   April 5, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      When are we going to start dealing with mental illness in a responsible manner in this country? The only real mental health system we have is prison and by definition you only get that AFTER you have done something horrific.

  11. Joan Nilson   April 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    The husband HAD to have known that the mother had problems. And why was the grandmother not being more careful to watch what her daughter was doing??? This is all too similar to the Andrea Yates case.

    Laurel Schlemmer also tried to run the two younger boys over two years ago …and there was an additional issue 4 years ago with Daniel (the 6-yr old who just died). This was no sudden psychotic break….

    You do not solve a problem by ignoring it. Now there are two sweet little boys who are dead…. and there are people who bear just as much responsibility as the sick mother who perpetrated the drowning……


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