Mom of two Miranda Hebble is blaming her exhaustion for the deaths of her two children, 2-year-old Lochlan and 10-month-old Malachi. She says Lochlan had smeared excrement from his diaper all over the walls and his brother's crib, so she took both boys, put them in the shower, and turned on the water. Then, she claims, she fell asleep and 10 hours later woke to find both children dead in the shower.
It's a heartbreaking loss for Hebble, for sure. But ... does that story sound strange to you? We all know it's dangerous to leave a child alone in the bathroom (or anywhere, for that matter). It would just take a couple minutes to rinse each child off. What did she imagine would happen to those babies when she walked away? What's really going on here?
Hebble told police her shower had accidentally gotten plugged up. She found Malachi floating with bruises on his cheek, and Lochlan on the bathroom floor with a scratch on his forehead, marks on his belly, and blood coming out of his mouth. The examiner couldn't say exactly what caused the boys' deaths. But he says Malachi may have drowned and Lochlan may have died from exhaustion, hunger, and perhaps hypothermia. Drowning may have contributed to his death as well.
Apparently Hebble had been investigated earlier for an incident in which she left Malachi alone in her car while she supposedly returned a video. Police found him hot, red, sweaty, and crying. Hebble told police she left him in the car because she was so tired, she was afraid she would drop him if she tried to carry him.
Something is up with Hebble. My first thought was that she may have substance abuse problems. But maybe it's postpartum depression, which can make some moms feel overwhelmed and fatigued. Apparently she'd had no history of mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse, but Hebble had been sleep-deprived because of Malachai's "restlessness." I think in just 10 months' time, it's entirely possible for a mom to suffer depression (aggravated by sleep deprivation) and not recognize it as such -- and so not get the help she needs. I wonder if Hebble had been suffering in silence, and we're now seeing the awful consequences of depression.
What do you think really led to the deaths of these children?
Image via Spring Dew/Flickr