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Fearing Dementia, Woman Planned Murder-Suicide: Police

Mentally disabled daughter was stabbed to death in motel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 21, 2019 6:33 PM CST
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Police said a woman stabbed her daughter to death at this Holiday Inn in Fenton, Missouri, and tried to kill herself.   (AP Photo/Jim Salter)

(Newser) – An elderly woman who feared she was developing dementia removed her mentally disabled adult daughter from a care facility, then fatally stabbed her in a suburban St. Louis hotel before attempting to kill herself, police and relatives say. Marjorie Theleman, 78, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of her 51-year-old daughter, Sharon Theleman, after police were summoned to a hotel in Fenton, Missouri, because the pair had not checked out. Sharon Theleman was pronounced dead at the scene, the AP reports. Her mother, who attempted to suffocate herself with a plastic bag, was hospitalized, according to a police news release. She left a typed note explaining her actions and a handwritten note telling housekeeping to call police, a police detective wrote in the probable cause statement.

Police said she was expected to survive. But one of her two sons, Scott Theleman, who lives in the Dallas area, said he has been told his mother is in a coma and has a "50-50 chance of surviving." He said his mother lived in a retirement community and wanted to have his sister moved there from a group home because his sister's mobility was declining. "She was concerned about Alzheimer's," he said of his mother. "Her mother had it. She had spent many years trying to avoid it but felt she was heading that way." Theleman and his brother were prepared to care for both of them, he said, per the Post-Dispatch, but "my mother made this decision for us," he said. "She had it in her head that she didn't want to leave us with a burden."

(Read more murder suicide stories.)

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