Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Sorry for what you had to do?
"We took immediate action knowing that we had to get into the house," stated Palm Bay police Chief Mark Renkins.
Palm Bay police received a 911 call from Jessica McCarty, 33, at 6 pm on March 20 2015 in which she claimed that she had killed all three of her children. Within seconds they received a second call from Christopher Swist Sr who reported the same circumstances after Jessica had sent him texts from inside their home showing blood throughout the house. The police raced to the home in the 1100 block of Kenmore St NW in Palm Bay FL and were confronted by Jessica in the front door of the house, bleeding and holding a knife. The police stated that they knew that they had to get into the house quickly and fired several beanbags at Jessica to subdue her.
Swist Sr was Jessica's boyfriend and the father of the youngest child in the home, Christopher, 5 months old, and he had called the police after arriving at the home to find the baby not breathing. He carried his son outside of the home to start CPR on him after rushing home. The police entered the home quickly to search for the other children. Swist stated to police that he had found his son on a bed with a cord wrapped around his throat and police found Lacey McCarty, 7 on that same bed. She was soaking wet and not breathing and an autopsy showed that she had been strangled and drowned in a tub. Her brother Philip McCarty, 6, was found in the corner of the living room with a cord wrapped around his throat as well.
The police had originally believed that the children may have been stabbed after confronting Jessica but that was later found to be untrue. Jessica had cut her own wrists and throat and is believed to be the source of all the blood that was found in the home. Lacey and Philip were taken to area hospitals and were both pronounced dead that evening. Little Christopher died on March 22 2015 after being on life support the Florida Hospital for Children.
Police state that Jessica confessed to what she had done during her 911 call but has not made any statements since. She was subdued outside the house and taken to have her injuries treated before being placed into custody. She waived her right to a first appearance in court and did have an attorney representing her. She was charged with two counts of murder at that time as well as one of attempted murder. She was ordered held without bail and is being kept on a suicide watch. The police expect to upgrade the charges since the death of Christopher.
It was reported that the family had moved to the quiet neighborhood about six months ago and were well liked. Neighbors, family and friends were shocked and shaken by the events of Friday night and are at a loss as to why Jessica had not reached out to them if she was in crisis. The police state that she did leave a journal out as well as a note addressed to her family that stated she is sorry for what she had to do.
Jessica had been investigated by DCF in 2009 because of a concern that her children were not properly supervised. That case was closed and she had been referred to receive services from a community health provider. It is unclear if she was still receiving services and DCF has stated that they will be conducting an investigation into the circumstances leading up to this incident to try and answer any questions people may have.
It has also been reported that Jessica had several brushes with the law in the past few years. They include forgery, shoplifting, driving with a suspended license and in 2013 she pleaded guilty to stealing four prescription pads and passing prescriptions for controlled substances while working as a CNA. She had been sentenced to two years community control and drug court and immediately failed a drug test. That led to her serving a week in county jail and she followed that with another failed drug test and six months in jail.
Hundreds turned out for a memorial service that was held Monday night at the Palm Bay Christian Center that had been hastily arranged for the three children. Many arrived to pray and remember the three little children who died as well as comfort family and friends.
The police have stated that a grand jury will hear the details of the murders on April 8 2015 and they may find out then what the contents of the three page letter Jessica wrote and left in one of the cars at the home are. They are also investigating her recent past for indications of what may have triggered the killings. They added that there seem to have been some recent difficulties with her current boyfriend but then, what relationship does not have some problems?
All that is really known is that three children have had their lives ended far too soon by an act they had no control over and a family has been destroyed.
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Update March 25 2015:
It has been reported that McCarty had previously attempted suicide before this latest incident. In 2009 she had attempted suicide after being accused of stealing her friend's credit cards. The report from DCF states that she had admitted to an investigator that came to the home that she had taken sleeping pills and muscle relaxers before texting a friend that she was trying to kill herself.
The reports states that the children were in immediate danger but that their grandmother and father were very protective of the children. The case was closed after the family was given a brochure and had signed a safety plan. The grandmother had told investigators then that Jessica had attempted to kill herself twice before but that has not been confirmed.