Saturday, 8 September 2012

FILICIDE: Chloe Menager

  • This undated photo provided by the Dallas County Sherrif's Office shows Chloe Menager. Dallas police say Menager has been charged with drowning her 1-year-old son in a bathtub.

Woman accused of drowning son says she was troubled by demons

DALLAS — A mother accused of killing her infant said demons had been tormenting her before the death of her 1-year-old son in a bathtub.
“I was a good mother,” Chloe Menager said in a jailhouse interview Friday afternoonIn jail, Menager, 25, wouldn't admit to killing Elijahu Perez on Thursday, but she did say that because of her past sins, she was haunted by demons. She's being held on a capital murder charge.
Menager wouldn't discuss her son's death, saying she needs to seek an attorney first. “I don't really want to say,” she said. “I don't recall.”
But she did talk about how demons caused her to be depressed and how she hopes others won't blame her religion for what happened to her child. Menager said she had been attending a Messianic Jewish congregation.
Dallas police first found out about Elijahu's death after they pulled over a speeding car on Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas. The driver said he was racing home because he'd received a call that his son, Elijahu, was dead. Police followed him to his apartment on Wyoming Street in west Oak Cliff.
Inside, they found the dead child and Menager.
Menager said she'd tried to kill herself by gashing her left wrist, and then she'd called her husband. The knife must've been too dull, she said in the interview. Her wrist was bloodied and scabbed Friday.
She compared her arrest and her $1 million bail at Lew Sterrett Justice Center to the tribulations of biblical figures such as Job and David.
“This is my trial and I have to go through this,” she said. “But I really don't want people to blame it on religion. I know it sounds crazy to a nonreligious person.”
“If someone tries to follow all the (biblical) laws,” she said, “if you don't do it the right way, or if you're a little bit rebellious, 'I'm not going to do this because I don't want to,' or 'I'm not going to church today,' or little things like that, they'll open doors to demons to torment you.
“It's not anybody's fault,” she said of Elijahu's death. “Don't blame it on the religion. It just has to do with me.”
A Child Protective Services spokeswoman confirmed that Menager does not have any other children and does not have a record with the agency.
Psychology professor Cheryl Meyer, an expert in maternal filicide — mothers killing their children — said there's no knowing how many women intentionally do so because some homicides result from abuse or neglect.
“But then there are the women who set out to do this,” Meyer said. “These mothers tend to be described as very loving and devoted.”
Meyer, a professor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, has published several papers and a book on filicide and interviewed dozens of women convicted of killing their children. She said most of them seemed insightful and pleasant.
“I expected I'd go in and meet some monster,” Meyer said. “I didn't. It was clear to me (that) the vast majority were just like me and I thought, 'Oh, this is scary. Had anything been different in my life, I might have been here.'”
Meyer said often, mothers who purposely kill their children also tend to struggle with mental illness — from psychosis to depression. They also tend to perceive that they do not have any support from their families or spouses. Sometimes it's true, and sometimes it's imagined.
For example, Andrea Yates, the Houston woman who confessed to drowning her five children in a bathtub in 2001, was described as having relied heavily on her husband, but she may not have recognized his support for her. A psychotic Yates, news reports said, often begged him to not leave her alone.
Meyer said mothers who have killed their children often call their spouses or the children's fathers soon after, as police say Menager did.
“These moms don't tend to hide what they did. To them, it might be the logical, practical thing to do,” the psychologist said.
Postpartum depression is often behind infanticide, Meyer said, and can last for 24 months after giving birth.
Menager said she came from France to Dallas 10 years ago, and she said she met her common-law husband, Pablo, three years ago when she saw him play guitar in a band. He could not be reached for comment.
Menager said she couldn't remember what happened late Thursday at the family's west Oak Cliff apartment, where police say she held the boy's head underwater in a bathtub. But she did speak at length about how she wants her husband and her fellow congregants at Am-Segulah Linaje Escogido to call her and to help with her bail.
“I've never been hurting this much before, and I need the opportunity to tell my husband I love him very much,” she said. “I called him and was telling him to come home fast.”
She said she doesn't think she told him or the police that she killed her son.
“But they don't see it that way.”

1 comment:

  1. It is hard to understand. My heart hurts for this young lady and others who have gone thru such tragedy. Maybe along side the Lamaze classes, they should educate the expecting parents (especially the fathers) to recognize the signs of Postpartum depression and to know when and how to seek help.