A mother in Pennsylvania left an apparent suicide note on Facebook, telling her husband she was "tired of being a single parent in a 2 parent home" and that he didn't "deserve to have a son" before killing their baby and then herself the day after Christmas, authorities said.
The bodies of 40-year-old Sheri Shermeyer and her 1-year-old son, John, were discovered inside a home on Monday afternoon in Shrewsbury Township by state police. Officers had responded to the residence after being alerted to a Facebook post in which the mother had threatened to shoot herself, according to KTLA sister station WPMT in Harrisburg.
The post read in part:
"I always thought of myself to be a strong person. I've been through Hell and back and still had a smile. I've lost too many people; family, friends, pets, jobs etc. But as of late I don't feel so strong. I have been slowly dying inside. I'm confused, just torn down, hardly ever go out in public anymore, don't socialize with people, I've become a hermit. I feel that the ONLY thing I have to live for is this little guy asleep in my arms right now, John. He is the only reason why I haven't blown my head off right now. And even now, all I can think about is leaving this world. Putting a gun in my mouth and leaving. Which is what is going to happen."
"I'm tired of being a single parent in a 2 parent home. I'm tired of trying to hold someone accountable for their actions or should say empty promises. I'm tired of being told the grass is greener somewhere else, tired of crying, tired of being threatened with divorce, tired of being physically ignored, tired of being emotionally abused, tired of not being able to eat or sleep, tired of the stress, tired of the headaches, tired of it all ... You will never see your son again. You don't deserve to have a son, to have a legacy ... So, you can have the single life back."
Hours after the note was posted, Shermeyer was found deceased in bed with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to WPMT, citing police and coroner officials.
Police believe the infant had been intentionally suffocated by Shermeyer before she took her own life, the station reported. The incident is being investigated as a murder-suicide.
Autopsies for the mother and son were scheduled for Wednesday.
One neighbor who spoke with KPMT told the station he was stunned by the deaths.
"I saw them outside during the summer and late fall, playing and having a good time. She was always really happy, it seemed like. I wouldn't have known that there was anything going on, so just to know that behind closed doors, things were that rough," Jason Lanius said. "You never really know what people are going through."
He added that he wished there had been signs before so that people could have reached out to help.
"It's such a sad thing. He was just a year old. Just from reading the stuff on Facebook, it was obvious that there were a lot of people that really loved her, and cared about her. It's a shame that something happened, and it was kind of too late," Lanius said.
Suicide prevention experts say if it appears a friend or family member is considering suicide, talk with them.
They say it may be a difficult subject to bring up, but talking about their thoughts and feelings may save a life.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has some tips on what to do if you see a suicidal post on a social media site.
It says any posts that mention wanting to die, having no reason to live, or increased drug or alcohol usage are posts that should be reported.