Suicide Watch For Alleged Murdering Mom - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

5/11/03 - Chapel Hill

Suicide Watch For Alleged Murdering Mom

A day after being arrested for double murder, Dee Laney remained in custody. Described as incoherent, her mood swings have led the Smith County Sheriff's Department to put her on a 24-hour suicide watch.

Laney was arrested after telling a 911 operator "I've killed my boys." Deputies found the bodies of her two oldest sons bludgeoned to death in her yard. Her fourteen month-old son was also attacked, and lay bleeding in his crib while his father slept in the next room. Sheriff J.B. Smith says the father is not a suspect in this case, as the call made by the mother made her the prime suspect.

"She went on to describe what she did," Smith says. "It's not a matter of knowing if we have the right person in custody or if there's anybody else involved with it. It's pretty obvious."

The bodies of eight year-old Joshua Keith Laney and six year-old Luke Allen Laney were found in a dark part of the yard. Both children were in their underwear with massive head wounds and large rocks laying on them.

The father spent Sunday in a Dallas hospital with his youngest son, 14-month old Aaron, who remains in critical condition.

For the friends and neighbors of the Laney family, Sunday was a difficult Mother's day. The murder of two children has raised more questions than answers for those who knew the family.

This morning, friends and church family of the Laney's gathered at the First Assembly of God Church for a special morning service.

"We don't have the answers for this," Pastor Gary Bell said. "The family this tragedy came to is one of the most unlikely families you would think this would happen to. They were a model family, hard woking, very spiritual. But in a moment of passion and weakness, it seems this tragedy unfolded."

Pastor Bell advised his congregation not to speak to the media or discuss the events, only to express their support for all of the surviving members of the families.

"I want to affirm and reaffirm not only for Keith, but for Dee and for Aaron, even with all of the unanswered questions, our love is for our church family and we're going to stand together."

Meanwhile by the Laney's house, the neighborhood was quiet. Next-door neighbor Joe Smith remembered how his kids would ride mini-bikes with the Laney family. Smith describes his feelings as "just devastation. We all love these people and cherish their relationship with us. They're absolutely some of the best people in the world."

Outside the family home, a small memorial sprang up. People dumbfounded the crime still wanted to share their sympathy.

"What this tragedy shows us," Joe Smith says, "Is that physically she might have had a part in this, but mentally something came over her."

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.

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