[size=14pt]Mother Tried To Kill Son Before Killing Herself[/size]
ANKENY, Iowa -- For days after Ankeny mother Sheila Tegtmeier was found dead in her home on Jan. 4, police would say only that it was a complicated case.
"We have a pretty clear understanding of what happened in the residence, but we're not yet able to give a conclusion based on an opinion," Capt. Greg Throckmorton said eight days later.
On Thursday, they laid out in elaborate detail the story of how the clinically depressed Tegtmeier carefully made sure she was home alone with her 20-year-old autistic son, tried unsuccessfully to kill him and then committed suicide.
Investigators said on Jan. 4, Tegtmeier called Ankeny Schools at 7:30 a.m. and said her son Rory Jr. was sick and she cancelled his bus pickup. Tegtmeier also called a siding company that was coming to work on her home and told them not to come because of a family matter. She then called her husband at his Ames office and left a message that she could not keep their 11 a.m. lunch appointment.
Police said following her phone calls Tegtmeier went to an upstairs bathroom and attempted to strangle her son with a cord.
During interviews with Rory Jr., 20, who has autism, investigators learned that Rory Jr. struggled to get free from the cord and forcefully pushed his mother away. He then hid in the basement, later telling investigators he was scared of his mother.
Rory Jr. told investigators he then heard a loud noise and rushed back upstairs to find his mother on the kitchen floor. Police said she had taken her own life by strangling herself.
Rory Sr. called home at 4:36 p.m. to talk to Sheila, but instead Rory Jr. answered and said, "mommy was dead."
Rory Sr. called his brother-in-law who immediately drove to the home and discovered that Tegtmeier was indeed dead. He called 911 at 4:48 p.m.
When police arrived they found Sheila on the kitchen floor with ligature marks around her neck and blood on her face. Police learned that her son was home at the time and started to slowly piece together what had happened.
Rory Jr. also had blood on his clothing and ligature marks around his neck.
Outside worried neighbors had gathered trying to learn what happened and if a killer was on the loose.
Police said they could offer little information until they completed more interviews with Rory Jr., which were difficult because of his autism.
Court documents describe Rory as "autistic and functioned at a low level of intelligence."
Police recognized the marks around Rory's neck, but didn't immediately know who had tried to strangle him.
During the meetings with Rory Jr. that followed, more details about what happened finally came out.
Court documents show that when an officer asked Rory who put the marks on his neck, "He told me that they were put there by his mom. I continued to speaking with Rory, but it was very difficult to carry on a conversation with him or follow through on his thoughts or statements."
The officer quoted Rory as saying, "His mom was mad, and then he said she was sad," according to court documents.
Investigators said they have conclusively determined that Tegtmeier took her own life on Jan 4. following her attempt to strangle her son.
Police said medical records show that Tegtmeier was receiving treatment for depression and had been receiving treatment since 2005.
Statement from Mr. Rory Tegtmeier Sr.
On January 4 Sheila Tegtmeier lost her battle with the pervasive and debilitating illness of depression and our family lost a dear and precious family member. Sheila was a loving and devoted military wife of almost 25 years, a doting mother of her two sons, a caring daughter and sister, and the friend that everyone wishes they were. Sheila is loved by many and missed by all.
A lifelong care giver to her family, other military spouses and to those with special needs; Sheila gave all she had to give to whoever was in need. Forever a small town Iowa farm girl at heart, Sheila gave as long as she could, as best as she could, never asking or accepting anything in return. We believe that Sheila's ongoing battle with depression had left her very tired and confused and unable to help herself. We take comfort in knowing that Sheila was a loving and beautiful person and is now, at last, at peace.
Finally, our family wishes to thank the many friends, neighbors, and co-workers for their generous support, many sympathies, and the great kindness they have give us during this difficult time. We also wish to thank the Ankeny Police and many other agencies for their compassion and steadfast professionalism.
Rory K. Tegtmeier Colonel, USA (retired)