A Polish woman charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of her seven-year-old son and a five-year-old girl she was babysitting had been upset about her own father’s recent death, an Illinois prosecutor said on Friday.
Yet what role Elzbieta Plackowska’s grief over her father’s death may have played in her actions on Tuesday — when authorities say she stabbed the two children dozens of times as they begged for their lives — DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin could not say.
Berlin previously said that Plackowska told investigators she killed her son because she was upset with her husband and the girl because she was a witness. He said on Friday no other explanations have emerged; as far as investigators know, Plackowska has no history of mental illness or hospitalization.
The children’s gruesome deaths have shaken Naperville, a vibrant, populous suburb 40km west of Chicago. Officers discovered their bodies after Marta Dworakowski reported her five-year-old daughter, Olivia, missing. Dworakowski had arrived home to discover her door locked and the babysitter’s car gone. Police found Olivia on a bed and seven-year-old Justin Plackowska on the floor beside it.
Plackowska told investigators that the children had been jumping on the bed. She ordered them to kneel on the floor and pray, and then stabbed them both dozens of times as they begged for their lives, Berlin said.
Investigators found a blood-stained steak knife in the kitchen sink and another knife in Plackowska’s car, he said.
Covered in blood, Plackowska drove to a Catholic church. Finding it closed, she called the church and left a message saying she had “done something bad” and needed help, Berlin said. She then went to a friend’s home where her adult son was staying and said she had been robbed. Police arrested her there.
Plackowska, a 40-year-old Polish immigrant, told investigators that her husband, a truck driver, used to bring her flowers and gifts, but she resented him being home only on weekends and that she had to work as a maid, which she felt was beneath her, Berlin said.
“She felt he truly did not appreciate how fine a wife and mother she was,” he said. “She told the detectives that she thought by killing [her son] Justin she would make her husband hurt the way she hurt in their relationship.”
One neighbor said he frequently heard the couple shouting at each other.
“It happened once every other month,” Victor Tuckenberry said.
However, Plackowska’s husband, Artur, denied the two were having problems.
“The day before [the killings] she told me that she loves me,” he said on Thursday in a brief interview.
Plackowska arrived in the US from Poland on a tourist visa 12 years ago, Berlin said. She is not a US citizen and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had placed a hold on her because she could be eligible for deportation.
Customs officials did not elaborate on the agency’s statement.