Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Palms mother covered teens with blankets after killing them, search warrant says

TAMPA — At the suburban cul-de-sac home, police found the girl in her bed and the boy in the family SUV, both lifeless, both covered with blankets.

They found the mother unconscious in a screened-in pool area, dried blood on her white robe and spent cigarettes nearby.

This first official glimpse of the murder scene at 16305 Royal Park Court in Tampa Palms North is detailed in a search warrant filed in Hillsborough court Tuesday, four days after Julie Powers Schenecker, 50, told police what she had done:

Shot her 13-year-old son, Beau, twice in the head during a car ride Thursday, after he talked back.

Shot her 16-year-old daughter, Calyx, in the face and back of her head as she did homework on a computer.

Schenecker remains in Falkenburg Road Jail without bail, charged with two counts of first-degree murder. She has had no visitors and has been on constant surveillance since her Friday arrest.

What happened inside her mind remains a mystery. A fuller story won't likely emerge until a criminal case begins to take shape in court.

But police removed pieces of evidence — including the .38-caliber revolver — that suggest what happened inside her home:

In the master bedroom, they found a gun instruction manual, a Smith & Wesson box and bullets. A notepad and pen, a blue folder with papers, medication.

On the stairwell, a sticky note with a message that police described as a do-not-resuscitate order.

Police swabbed blood from a mat under a desk. They took computers, cell phones, paperwork, sticky notes and medication, but the court record detailed neither the kinds of medicine nor contents of the notes.

Behind the house, where investigators discovered Schenecker, they also found a water bottle, a lighter, the cigarette butts, a mechanical pencil and a yellow notepad.

In the master bathroom, they found five spent shell casings. Each child was shot twice. The fifth bullet struck the SUV windshield.

The call that first summoned police Friday morning came from Schenecker's mother, who from a winter home in Texas worried about an e-mail her daughter had sent the night before, in which she seemed depressed.

Two officers arrived at the home at 7:49 a.m., looking for a possibly suicidal woman.

At that point, they didn't know about another note the woman wrote, in which she detailed her plan to kill her kids and herself.

They didn't know they would find two dead children.

But once they saw Schenecker, they knew they needed help. They called for their sergeant. Twenty minutes after the officers arrived, a man's voice was heard on a police radio with a request for dispatchers:

"I need more units."

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3354. Information from was used in this report.

Tampa Palms mother covered teens with blankets after killing them, search warrant says 02/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 4:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Break out those sweaters, Tampa Bay, as cooler weather just a day away


    Tampa Bay residents will finally be able to break out their sweaters and boots this week, but not until enduring yet another humid, rainy day to start the workweek.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  3. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day


    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event


    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.
  5. As the curtain rises on the Straz Center's biggest shows, the spotlight is on parking


    TAMPA — The Broadway Series, the most lucrative shows of the year for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, start this week, and this year the center wants all the drama to take place on stage, not during the drive to the theater.

    With downtown Tampa getting busier at night and on weekends, city officials and administrators from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have been working on ways to unsnarl traffic and help visitors find parking when there are lots of events at the same time. CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times (2009)