The Duxbury, Masachusetts, mom accused of strangling her three children with exercise bands told her panicked husband the kids were in the basement where he “begged them to breathe” after discovering their bodies, a prosecutor said.
Screengrab of Lindsay Clancy arraigned from her hospital bed.
“She killed the kids,” husband Patrick Clancy cried out to first responders the evening of Jan. 24, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague added Tuesday.
The prosecutor asked that the mom, Lindsay Clancy, be held without bail — adding that soon after the 32-year-old woke up at the hospital she wrote on a whiteboard: “Do I need an attorney?”
Sprague also said Lindsay Clancy used mapping software to track how long it would take her husband to run errands she sent him on that evening — including a trip to a nearby CVS for stool softener for kids and take-out dinner.
That dinner, the prosecutor added, was called in by Lindsay Clancy to ThreeV Restaurant in nearby Plymouth, where she ordered a Mediterranean power bowl for her, scallop and pork-belly risotto for him.
He arrived at the CVS at 5:32 p.m. and ThreeV at 5:54 p.m. and headed back home “within a minute” with the food arriving just after 6 o’clock, Sprague said.
“When he arrived home,” the ADA added, “the first thing he noticed was the silence.”
A bedroom door was locked; there was blood on the floor upstairs; and then Patrick Clancy found his wife on the ground outside, her cuts no longer bleeding.
“What did you do?” he asked her, Sprague said.
“I tried to kill myself and jumped out the window,” the wife responded.
“Where are the kids?” he added.
“In the basement,” the mom said.
“Guys?” the dad called out as he went searching for his children, Sprague added.
“He could then be heard screaming in agony,” Sprague said, and “begged them to breathe” as he pulled the bands from their necks. And when first responders arrived and met him in the basement, he yelled out to them “She killed the kids!”
The older two children, Cora, 5, and Dawson, 3, would be pronounced dead at area hospitals that night while 7-month-old Callan would hold on until that Friday, Jan. 27, when he, too, was pronounced dead at Boston Children’s Hospital.
They were killed, Sprague said, by ligature strangulation, in which Lindsay Clancy would have had to hold the ligature in place for up to 5 minutes per child to cause death.
“Therefore she had to strangle each of them to unconsciousness and then make sure the bands were squeezing their little necks for several minutes,” Sprague said. “She could have changed her mind at any point during that time and removed those bands from their necks and she did not.”
Sprague added Lindsay Clancy “killed the kids because she heard a voice and had ‘a moment of psychosis.’” When her husband asked “what voices” Sprague said she responded that she “heard a man’s voice telling her to kill the kids and kill herself because it was her last chance.”
Lindsay Clancy appeared for her Plymouth District Court hearing Tuesday over Zoom from her hospital bed in Boston to be arraigned on two counts of juvenile murder and three counts each of strangulation or suffocation and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Defense attorney Kevin Reddington said his client is a “paraplegic” — paralyzed from the waist down — who “can’t walk” after jumping out a second-floor window that night and who was pumped full of drugs as she tried to cope with postpartum complications after the birth of her third child.
Reddington added the one-time labor nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital now needs someone with her “24/7” out of “concern she will commit suicide.”
Reddington asked for her to be sent to Spaulding Rehab with a GPS monitor if the court orders more safeguards. The prosecution sought an alternative, Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain.
At that, Reddington groaned and threw up his hands calling the Shattuck “dismal and dank … like something out of Iran.”
Judge John Canavan ordered that Clancy be held at the unnamed hospital she’s at now and will “likely” be sent to Spaulding Rehab in Charlestown once she is cleared by her doctors to do so. But, he added, she needs to keep receiving mental health care and is due back in court May 2 — a date that will probably be moot once the case is bumped up to superior court.
Reddington stressed that Lindsay Clancy had been over-prescribed meds in the run-up to the aweful night.
From just October until January, Reddington said, Clancy had been prescribed various mixtures of drugs including the antidepressants Prozac, Remeron, amitriptyline and Trazodone; Seroquel, which the National Alliance on Mental Illness said treats schizophrenia and is an atypical antispychotic; and the anti-anxiety drugs Ativan and benzodiazepines. He also said that she was on Valium at some point and had been taking Benadryl.
“Our society fails miserably in treating women with postpartum depression, or even postpartum psychosis,” he said. “It’s medicate, medicate, medicate. Throw the pills at you and then see how it works. If it doesn’t work, then increase the dose or decrease the dose. Then end up trying another combination of medications.”
He said that holding her without bail is an “inhumane order” for a woman in her condition.
“She was so bad she turned herself in … to the McLean Hospital,” Reddington added. “This is really a tragedy, this case.”
A GoFundMe drive organized to help Patrick Clancy “pay for medical bills, funeral services, and legal help” in the wake of the tragedy has sailed past its goal of $1 million to reach $1,041,610 by 10:06 a.m. Tuesday.
Joe Dwinell contributed to this report.
Lindsay Clancy is seen on screen from inside Plymouth District Court yesterday. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)
Judge john Canavan. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)
Prosecutor Jennifer Sprague. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)
Duxbury residents leave teddy bears, flowers and more in memory of the Clancy kids near their home. (Matt Stone/Boston Herald)
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