DUXBURY — A mother of three will be charged with killing two of her children and causing traumatic injuries to her third, before attempting to take her own life in an unthinkable outburst of family violence, prosecutors said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Lindsay Clancy, 32, strangled her daughter, Cora, 5, and her son Dawson, 3, at their home, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said at a news conference. She also faces charges of assaulting her 7-month-old son, whose name was not released. He is being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Clancy was placed in police custody Wednesday night after an arrest warrant was issued charging her with two counts of murder, three counts of strangulation or suffocation, and three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, Cruz’s office said. She remained in a Boston hospital Wednesday after jumping from a second-floor window of their Summer Street home in the attempted suicide, officials said.
“I cannot begin to fathom the pain, the depths of pain” the family must be feeling, Cruz said. He did not provide any information about a motive.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Clancy’s husband called 911 after his wife jumped, Cruz said. Firefighters arrived to a horrifying scene, finding three children “unconscious, with obvious signs of trauma” inside the home, officials said. Cora and Dawson were pronounced dead at a hospital, while the infant boy was flown to Boston Tuesday night.
On her Facebook page, Clancy wrote that she works as a labor and delivery nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, where officials confirmed she was employed.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of this unthinkable tragedy,” the hospital said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to all those affected by these devastating events.”
Details of Clancy’s background seemed to show a successful professional and personal life. She received her nursing license in 2014, according to state records, and holds a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.
She and Patrick Clancy were married in 2016 in Southington, Conn., according to an engagement announcement published in the Scituate Mariner newspaper.
She earned a biology degree from Quinnipiac University in 2012, the announcement said, after graduating from Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford, Conn., in 2008.
In her yearbook profile, Clancy, then named Lindsay Marie Musgrove, spoke warmly of her friends.
“I know it’s not perfect, but it’s life. Life is messy sometimes,” she wrote. “No matter how hard you fight it, you fall. And it’s scary. Except there’s an upside to free falling. It’s the chance you give your friends to catch you.”
In 2018, Clancy and her husband purchased their home at 47 Summer St. for $500,000, according to town records.
Online, Clancy appeared as a loving mother to her three young children. Virtually every post on her Facebook page included a photo of one or more of the children. In 2019, she posted a photo of her daughter as the girl embraced her little brother.
“I feel like the luckiest mama in the whole wide world,” she wrote.
The next year, Clancy included several pictures of herself with her husband and their daughter and son. “So unbelievably thankful for this family and life,” the post read.
But in July, Clancy spoke openly in a Facebook post about her previous struggles with postpartum anxiety. She then wrote that six weeks after the birth of her third child, she was feeling “dialed in,” focusing on exercise, nutrition, and mindset, and “it has made all the difference.”
The most recent photo, from early November, showed a bright-eyed, laughing baby boy wearing a winter cap and a flannel shirt.
At their home on Wednesday, an SUV parked in the driveway had a “Baby on Board” sticker on the back. In the backyard behind a white picket fence were a swing set, a green slide, a soccer ball, and a toy wheelbarrow.
Donna Jesse, who identified herself as the children’s aunt, and Rita Musgrove, their great-grandmother, were visibly emotional as they approached the house in the afternoon and left a bouquet of pink, red, and white roses alongside other flowers that mourners had brought.
“They were beautiful, beautiful children,” Jesse said.
“It’s pretty shocking,” Musgrove said.
Lindsay Clancy’s father-in-law, Christopher Clancy, declined to comment. “We’re all heartbroken right now,” he said.
In Duxbury, a suburb south of Boston, residents struggled to make sense of the deaths and accusations.
They’re “so young,” said Tom McGrath, who lives nearby and was walking his dog on Summer Street. “It’s very sad. It’s sort of like, ‘How can this happen around here?’ ”
McGrath offered his prayers for the family. “Especially for the baby,” he said. “And prayers for what she was going through to actually do this.”
John Sullivan, a neighbor on Summer Street, said his son called him Tuesday to tell him “the mother was laying down in the backyard.”
When he arrived home, Sullivan said, he walked to the Clancys’ house and saw first responders performing CPR on a baby.
“Right in the driveway, about 20 feet from the house,” he said.
Sullivan said he didn’t know his neighbors but never saw any signs of trouble from their house, whose yard is adjacent to his.
“The mother would be out there in the summer and spring, playing with the children,” he said. “I just don’t know how somebody could do that.”
Recorded radio transmissions of emergency responders posted on the website Broadcastify provided a wrenching account of what firefighters discovered when they arrived at the home.
“We’ve got three pediatric arrests,’’ a firefighter said.
“Three pediatric arrests,” the dispatcher responded. “We’ve got mutual aid on the way.”
The transmissions between firefighters gave a sense of the life-saving efforts they were undertaking.
“Cap,” a firefighter asked of the captain in command. “Can you get one of the cops to help us with compressions so we can do some other stuff.”
A few minutes later, first responders had placed the mother and her three children into four ambulances.
Earlier, a dispatcher reported that the woman had injured herself before jumping “off the top floor of the house” but was still conscious.
“It was over a 20-foot fall,” the dispatcher said on the recording, adding that the woman sustained back injuries and neck lacerations.
At the news briefing, Duxbury Fire Chief Rob Reardon said support services are being offered to emergency workers who went to the Clancy home.
Duxbury Town Manager René Read appeared emotional during the briefing.
”I work with them every day, I know a little bit of what they go through,” he said of the first responders. “But when they tell me it’s the worst they’ve ever seen, it’s going to have an impact.”
Just down the road from the family’s home, St. Paul’s Church of the Nazarene opened for those in need of pastoral support or “a place to pray for this family.” Inside the foyer, tables were set up with food and refreshments.
“What we’re trying to do here is just to be open and available,” pastor Jeremy Stanford said. “If someone needs to talk or if someone wants to pray or if someone wants to grieve, just to do it together as a community.”
If you or are someone you know have had thoughts of suicide, call 988 or visit 988lifeline.org to chat online.
Danny McDonald, Travis Andersen, Jessica Bartlett, Jeremiah Manion, John Tlumacki, and John Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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