Tampa Palms mother covered teens with blankets after killing them, search warrant says


By Alexandra Zayas and Jessica Vander Velde, Times Staff Writers
In Print: Wednesday, February 2, 2011

TAMPA At the suburban cul-de-sac home, police found the girl in her bed and the boy in the family SUV, both lifeless, both covered with blankets.

They found the mother unconscious in a screened-in pool area, dried blood on her white robe and spent cigarettes nearby.

This first official glimpse of the murder scene at 16305 Royal Park Court in Tampa Palms North is detailed in a search warrant filed in Hillsborough court Tuesday, four days after Julie Powers Schenecker, 50, told police what she had done:

Shot her 13-year-old son, Beau, twice in the head during a car ride Thursday, after he talked back.

Shot her 16-year-old daughter, Calyx, in the face and back of her head as she did homework on a computer.

Schenecker remains in Falkenburg Road Jail without bail, charged with two counts of first-degree murder. She has had no visitors and has been on constant surveillance since her Friday arrest.

What happened inside her mind remains a mystery. A fuller story won't likely emerge until a criminal case begins to take shape in court.

But police removed pieces of evidence including the .38-caliber revolver that suggest what happened inside her home:

In the master bedroom, they found a gun instruction manual, a Smith & Wesson box and bullets. A notepad and pen, a blue folder with papers, medication.

On the stairwell, a sticky note with a message that police described as a do-not-resuscitate order.

Police swabbed blood from a mat under a desk. They took computers, cell phones, paperwork, sticky notes and medication, but the court record detailed neither the kinds of medicine nor contents of the notes.

Behind the house, where investigators discovered Schenecker, they also found a water bottle, a lighter, the cigarette butts, a mechanical pencil and a yellow notepad.

In the master bathroom, they found five spent shell casings. Each child was shot twice. The fifth bullet struck the SUV windshield.

The call that first summoned police Friday morning came from Schenecker's mother, who from a winter home in Texas worried about an e-mail her daughter had sent the night before, in which she seemed depressed.

Two officers arrived at the home at 7:49 a.m., looking for a possibly suicidal woman.

At that point, they didn't know about another note the woman wrote, in which she detailed her plan to kill her kids and herself.

They didn't know they would find two dead children.

But once they saw Schenecker, they knew they needed help. They called for their sergeant. Twenty minutes after the officers arrived, a man's voice was heard on a police radio with a request for dispatchers:

"I need more units."

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354. Information from RadioReference.com was used in this report.