Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Schenecker dad long knew about his wife's depression

The Schenecker’s children Beau, 13, left, and Calyx, 16, were shot and killed Jan. 27.

Family photo

The Schenecker’s children Beau, 13, left, and Calyx, 16, were shot and killed Jan. 27.

TAMPA — For the first time since the deaths of his two teenage children, Parker Schenecker is speaking about his wife, who has been charged with their murder.

"We were a typical American family," he told People magazine, "but we had a sick member."

He said his wife, Julie Schenecker, had suffered from depression since before they were married. When it hit, he said, she would have low energy, ignore housekeeping duties and meal preparation and stay in bed for much of the day.

"I never had any indication that she would harm the children, or that she would ever think of taking the children's lives. It was absolutely incredible when I found out she did. …

"Julie was a fantastic mother early on when the kids were needing nursing and nurturing. … They gave her a lot of joy; it gave me a lot of joy watching her with the kids."

He said he convinced her to check into inpatient rehab after he suspected she had substance abuse issues in November. "I did everything I could think of to do," said Schenecker, a colonel in the Army.

He said family life became more stable when she returned home after a week. They had a peaceful Christmas and he witnessed her get into a playful sponge fight with the kids.

His military work took him overseas Jan. 19.

Her last e-mail message to him, on the day police believe her children died, included these statements:

Get home soon …

We're all waiting for you.

Tampa police say the Tampa Palms North mother shot Beau, 13, and Calyx, 16, after school on Jan. 27. They say she had been planning it for days.

Parker Schenecker described his first jail meeting with his wife after her arrest:

"I walked in and said, 'How about we do this: Let's not talk about anything that happened in the house,' " Schenecker told People.

"She said, 'Yeah, that would be great.' "

He spoke about a memorial service and their burial, and toward the end of the visit, told her, "I am going to look you in the eye and tell you that I am going to seek a divorce."

He did. The divorce, and the criminal resolution, are pending.

Prosecutors have until Aug. 15 to announce whether they will pursue the death penalty. Public defenders have until then to determine whether they will pursue an insanity defense.

"I don't hate Julie," Parker Schenecker told People. "I feel for her. I'm going through my hell; she's going through her own hell."

Schenecker has said he will spend the rest of his life honoring his children. The Times shadowed him last month at King High School's Relay for Life when he took his first steps toward that goal.

He told People he is eager to move out of the house the four shared.

He said it is too big for him.

Schenecker dad long knew about his wife's depression 04/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

  2. John Morgan intends to pressure every Florida politician to fund wage initiative


    John Morgan, the publicity-loving personal injury lawyer/entrepreneur who spearheaded the successful medical marijuana initiative, soon plans to start collecting signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative raising Florida minimum wage. He plans to "spend millions of my own money" on the effort, but he also intends to …

  3. Westbound traffic on Courtney Campbell blocked after crash


    Westbound traffic on the Courtney Campbell Causeway is being diverted following a crash early Thursday morning.

  4. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront


    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. 25 things to remember on the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew


    Twenty-five years ago today, Andrew was born.

    Aerial of a mobile home community in the Homestead area, destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. [Times (1992)]