Counseling offered after teen siblings found dead, accused mom remains in hospital

By Kristy Wolski, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, January 29, 2011

A psychologist offered grief counseling to anyone in need at the Tampa Palms clubhouse Saturday after police say a mother killed her two children in the neighborhood the day before.

Tampa police responded to the Schenecker family home just before 8 a.m. on Friday and found the mother, Julie, covered in blood on the back patio and her two teenagers inside shot to death.

Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives said Julie Schenecker admitted to the crime in detail to them. They also found a note they say was written by her describing her plan to kill her children and then herself.

Schenecker's mother, who lives in Texas, had called police, worried on Friday morning, because she had just received an email from her that she described as 'depressing.'

Friday night classmates, friends, and neighbors of Calyx and Beau organized a vigil outside the gated community where they were killed.

The next day, close friends of the teens, like Bailey Johnson, sought counseling at the neighborhood clubhouse.

"As soon as I found out, I just started sobbing because he was like my little brother," she said. "It's really sad because he was such a good person and didn't deserve this at all and neither did his sister. I met her once and she was really sweet, too."

Because students won't return to school until Monday, psychologist Dr. Tsila Kirsh wanted to make sure help was available right away.

"After a traumatic event, it's crucial to do immediate debriefing, to minimize long-term psychological effects," she said.

Police said Schenecker confessed to killing her children, saying she was tired of them talking back to her.

Kirsh said she wants parents with similar feelings to seek help immediately.

"Please, please, please, if you are experiencing an elevated stress reaction from parenting a teen, seek support," she said. "I cannot emphasize the importance of support."

Kirsh said if children recognize their parents may be having trouble, they too should confide in a teacher or school counselor.

According to Kirsh, social support among friends, families, and at school will be crucial in the coming days. She also plans to make another counseling session available soon.

Schenecker was booked into the Orient Road Jail Friday and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. However, she was transported to the hospital late that night for what officials are calling a 'pre-existing' condition.

As soon as she is cleared, she will be taken back to jail and head to court. No timeframe has been provided for when that may be.

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Schenecker is married to Parker Schenecker, 48, a U.S. Army colonel who is currently stationed in Qatar. He is expected to return to the Bay area next week. Friends say as soon as he heard the news, he began heading home to Tampa.