Wed, Nov 24, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Mom cuts off baby's arms


A woman with a history of postpartum depression told an emergency operator she had cut off the arms of her baby daughter, then waited calmly until police arrived, authorities said.

Authorities found Dena Schlosser, 35, and the fatally injured baby on Monday after the child's father called a daycare center and asked them to check on his wife and daughter in the Dallas suburb of Plano. Daycare workers called the police-fire emergency number after talking with Schlosser, and an operator then phoned the mother.

The operator asked Schlosser if there was an emergency, according to tapes released by police. Schlosser calmly responded: "Yes."

"Exactly what happened?" the operator asked.

"I cut her arms off," Schlosser replied, as the hymn He Touched Me played in the background.

Child-protection authorities said the mother had shown signs of postpartum depression in the past, but there had been no signs of violence.

Authorities said when they arrived at the family's apartment, they found the nearly 11-month-old baby in a bedroom with her arms severed. Schlosser, covered in blood, was sitting in her living room. The child died at a hospital.

It was not immediately clear what instrument was used to sever the baby's arms or why the baby's father asked the daycare center employees to check on his family.

Schlosser lived at the apartment with other family members, including her two older daughters. The girls, ages 6 and 9, were at school and their father was at work when police arrived, Duke said.

Texas Child Protective Services was called to the home in January after Schlosser was seen running down the street from her apartment, with one of her daughters, then 5, bicycling after her, authorities said. When police and CPS arrived, the child told them her mother had left her 6-day-old baby sister alone in the apartment.

Schlosser appeared at the time to be suffering from postpartum depression and seemed to be having a psychotic episode, said Marissa Gonzales, a CPS spokeswoman.

Schlosser was hospitalized for a few days. Her other two daughters were released to their father, who told authorities Schlosser had been acting strangely since the birth of the third child.

Once she was released from the hospital, Schlosser agreed to seek counseling and see a psychiatrist, Gonzales said. Caseworkers continued to visit the family through the spring and summer, and the case was closed Aug. 9.

"There were never any indications of violence with this family," Gonzales said. "The children had always been healthy, happy and cared for."

Gonzales said CPS was interviewing Schlosser's other children and would talk to the father before deciding whether to remove the children from the home.

No one answered the door Monday night at the family's apartment.

Neighbors said she seemed to be a loving, attentive mother.

Dena Livingston, 43, said she saw Schlosser making her rounds with the stroller on Sunday. She saw her Friday waiting with her baby outside the school the older girls attend.

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