On Tuesday, prosecutors presented a timeline of events surrounding the Jan. 24 killings of Lindsay Clancy’s three young children that described the tragic episode in wrenching detail.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague said during Clancy’s arraignment on murder charges that the 32-year-old deliberately sent her husband to pick up food from a restaurant in Plymouth, farther away than their usual takeout places, so she would have time to strangle her children in their Duxbury home.
Lindsay Clancy’s lawyer, Kevin Reddington, said in court that Clancy was suffering from postpartum depression and overmedicated on drugs known to cause suicidal and homicidal ideation, and that the killings weren’t planned. She has pleaded not guilty and Reddington has signaled he’ll pursue a not guilty by reason of insanity defense at trial.
Below are selected passages from law enforcement’s summary account of the deaths and the investigation that followed.
The morning of Jan. 24 was a normal one for Clancy and her children, 5-year-old Cora, 3-year-old Dawson, and 8-month-old Callan, prosecutors said.
As Clancy’s husband, Patrick Clancy, worked in the basement of the family home on Summer Street, she took Cora to a morning appointment at her pediatrician’s office.
When Clancy returned home with her oldest child, they and Dawson played outside in the snow, and Clancy texted photos of the children building a snowman to her mother and husband.
“There was nothing out of the ordinary in the texts,” prosecutors wrote.
At 4:02 p.m., Clancy searched on her phone for “kids Miralax,” a laxative medication, and 11 minutes later she searched for “take out 3v,” a reference to the restaurant ThreeV in Plymouth. She then used Apple Maps on her phone to calculate how long it would take to drive from the family’s home to ThreeV.
At 4:47 p.m., she called a CVS in Kingston and spoke with a manager, who told her they didn’t have Miralax but had similar medications. The manager later told investigators Clancy didn’t sound slurred or impaired in any way.
Six minutes later, Clancy texted her husband as he worked at his home office in the basement and asked if he wanted to order takeout from ThreeV since it had “been a long day” and she hadn’t cooked.
“This was an unusual request as they would typically order from restaurants that were closer to their home when getting takeout,” prosecutors wrote.
Lindsay Clancy called in the order at 5:10 p.m. and five minutes later texted her husband with a second request — to pick up the laxative at CVS.
Patrick Clancy entered a CVS in Kingston at 5:32 p.m. and called his wife, but she didn’t pick up. She called him back one minute later, and he confirmed the medications during a 14-second conversation.
“The call was normal,” prosecutors wrote. “He said that she seemed like she was in the middle of something.”
Shortly after 6 p.m., Patrick Clancy returned home with the medicine and the takeout order and immediately noticed an unfamiliar stillness in a house with three small children.
“The first thing he noticed was the silence,” prosecutors wrote. “He did not see or hear the defendant or the children.”
At 6:09 p.m., he called his wife, but there was no answer. He went to the couple’s bedroom on the second floor and the door was locked. When he managed to get into the room, he saw blood on the floor in front of a full-length mirror and saw that a window was open. He ran outside and found Clancy lying on the ground in the backyard.
She appeared to have cut her wrists and neck but those wounds weren’t bleeding any longer, prosecutors wrote.
He called 911 and asked his wife “What did you do?” She replied, “I tried to kill myself and jumped out the window.” During the 911 call, Patrick could be heard asking his wife “Where are the kids?”
“In the basement,” she replied.
While still on the phone with the dispatcher, Patrick Clancy went down to the basement and was heard calling out for his children, “Guys?”
He was then heard “screaming in agony” as he discovered Cora and Callan on the floor in the den and Dawson on the floor of his home office.
“His screams seem to get louder and more agonized as time passes,” prosecutors wrote.
Each child still had the exercise band used to strangle them tied around their necks. He removed the bands and begged them to breathe. He screamed for officers to come to the basement. When they arrived, he yelled, “She killed the kids.”
At the home, police found several notebooks Lindsay Clancy had used as journals, which included a meticulous accounting of the medications she took, as well as her mental state and daily activities with her family. She wrote that she at times in December had “suicidal ideation” and told her husband she had thoughts of harming herself and her children but “did not write or voice those thoughts after a stay at McLean Hospital” in early January, prosecutors said.
One the day before the killings, she had written in her phone that she had “a touch of postpartum anxiety” around returning to work.
Police found one entry on her phone that referenced more significant struggles.
“I think I sort of resent my children because they prevent me from treating Cal like my first baby,” Clancy wrote on Oct. 25. “And I know that’s not fair to them. I know that. I was feeling so depressed last evening when Cora and Dawson came home from school. I know it runs off on them so we had a pretty rough evening. I want to feel love and connection with all of my kids.”
On the night of the killings, police interviewed a close college friend of Patrick Clancy’s named Kyle Carney.
Carney said the Clancys and their two older children had come to his home for dinner two days earlier, and that Lindsay seemed “fairly normal” and mostly stayed quiet on her phone.
“Pat told him that Lindsay was about to go back to work and was having anxiety,” prosecutors wrote. “She was prescribed medications, which were in Pat’s opinion not working.”
Carney said Patrick also told him Lindsay had experienced withdrawals from the Benzodiazepines she had been prescribed and that she endured “the worst side effects possible.”
On Jan. 27, three days after the killings, Lindsay Clancy used a whiteboard in the hospital while intubated, prosecutors said. One of the first questions she asked was “Do I need an attorney?”
Ten days later, on the morning of Feb. 6, Clancy called her husband from the hospital, in the presence of a psychologist hired by her lawyer to assess her mental state.
She told her husband that after he left the house on Jan. 24, she heard voices and had “a ‘moment of psychosis,’” prosecutors wrote.
“He asked her what voices she heard, and she said that she heard a man’s voice telling her to kill the kids and kill herself because it was her last chance,” they wrote.
In court Tuesday, as Lindsay Clancy pleaded not guilty to murder charges from her hospital bed, Reddington described her as a devoted mother whose home overflowed with toys, drawings, and other signs of her love for her children.
“You think this is something that she’s planning, to kill these three kids?” Reddington said in court. “Going onto Google Maps or whatever it is, and finding out the distance, when she tells her husband she’s having suicidal thoughts” a month beforehand as well as “thoughts of hurting her children?”
“This is a significant issue, between the postpartum depression, as well as [a] possibility of postpartum psychosis that is pretty much ignored,” Reddington said.
“So we have, obviously, I would suggest, a very good defense for this young woman,” he told the court.
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.