DANIEL WALLACE | ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
Julie Powers Schenecker faces two charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Calyx Powers Schenecker, 16, and Powers Beau Schenecker, 13, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. Schenecker admitted the killings, McElroy said.
The father of the children is Army Col. Parker Schenecker, 48, who is stationed at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He was overseas and was notified that his wife had killed their children at their home, 16305 Royal Park Court, police said.
"I don't think there's an explanation that could make us understand. She did tell us that they talk back and they were mouthy," McElroy said.
The children were killed Thursday but were not found until Friday morning, when a police officer responded to the house after an out-of-state relative became concerned when the family couldn't be reached, police said.
No one answered at the house. At the back door, a police officer found the mother covered in blood. Inside, police found the bodies of the children and a note from the mother detailing how she would kill her children and then herself with a .38-caliber pistol.
In the garage, police found Powers shot in the side of the head. Calyx was found dead at a computer in an upstairs room. There did not appear to have been a struggle, police said. "It appears that the children never saw it coming," McElroy said.
Calyx was in the 10th grade pre-International Baccalaureate program at King High School. Powers was in the 8th grade at Liberty Middle School.
Seena Jain, who carpooled with the Schenecker children and her own daughter, Sheema, 15, described the family as quiet. Jain said Col. Schenecker was home a few weeks ago picking up the carpooling shift while his wife recovered from a serious car crash a month ago.
Jain said Calyx was well-mannered and ran track and cross-country.
"Calyx was a very sweet girl, always soft spoken, always quiet," Jain said. "A real sweetheart. I just can't comprehend why this has happened to them."
The police critical incident stress management team, which provides counseling to investigators in stressful situations, was at the "devastating crime scene," McElroy said.
"It's truly a heartbreaking scene," McElroy said.
Mrs. Schenecker was led from Tampa Police Department headquarters dressed in a white, plastic outfit, the type given to suspects when their clothing is seized as evidence.
She did not answer questions from reporters and appeared to be talking to herself or those around her while she was taken to the Orient Road Jail.
Lt. Col. Mike Lawhorn, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, said Parker is assigned to CentCom's "intelligence directorate" and that he has worked for CentCom for over two years.
Schenecker was on a temporary duty assignment overseas the past few days, Lawhorn said. He would not say where but noted Schenecker was working in CentCom's area of responsibility, which includes much of the Middle East.
Lawhorn would not comment about any ties between Schenecker and the National Security Agency, referring questions to the NSA. He is a career military intelligence officer with 28 years of service, according to CentCom.
The NSA did not return calls for comment.