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Palm Beach Post
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013
Alexandra Seltzer, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Pamela Brooks was not under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol and had a prescribed dosage of the anti-depressant Prozac in her system when she stabbed her 10-year-old daughter more than 20 times and herself more than 150 times, toxicology results show.
Her daughter, Alexandra, also was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The September deaths came after a long divorce and custody battle between Pamela and Bradley Brooks over their little girl. Pamela Brooks was depressed and struggled with alcohol abuse. In late May a judge ordered if Pamela Brooks was found drinking again, Bradley Brooks would receive full custody of their daughter.
Pamela and Alexandra Brooks — who attended The King’s Academy — were found dead Sept. 12 in their Gregory Place home after Bradley Brooks couldn’t reach them.
The toxicology results showed Brooks was taking 40 mg of Fluoxetine, or Prozac, a day. The autopsy revealed Brooks had 190 ng/mL in her system, in line with what would be in her system about four to eight hours after taking the dosage.
Among the stab wounds found all over Alexandra’s body is a 1-inch would to the right side of her chest that traveled through two ribs, the right lung and a right ventricle of her heart.
Pamela Brooks had many hesitation stab wounds on her body, including 29 on the right side of her abdomen that were up to 2 millimeters deep. Brooks also stabbed herself on her face, the top of her head, her neck, sternum and her right hand.
Brooks’ decision to use a kitchen knife shows the murder-suicide was likely impulsive and could have been a result of a psychotic panic, said Dr. Steve O’Brien, of the Florida School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Tampa.
“She was out of touch with reality,” O’Brien said. “It’s likely that she was out of control, and she may have been responding to some form of a hallucination, an auditory hallucination. In some psychotic process, voices and a delusional belief system, where if she didn’t do this, something bad would happen, which is kind of ironic because this was obviously horrific.”
The Brooks’ murder-suicide is a case of maternal filicide, when a mother kills her daughter or son, O’Brien said.
Maternal filicide mothers are often found to have suffered from depression or psychosis and can be driven to kill their child for a range of reasons:
– The mother may believe killing her daughter or son is best for the child.
– The mother may not want the child.
– In rare cases, the mother may kill the child to punish the child’s father, according to a 2007 article in World Psychiatry.
While the number of times Brooks stabbed herself and her daughter are outrageous, cases of maternal filicide aren’t unusual.
– In 2001 in Texas Andrea Yates drowned her children in a bathtub and told officials she thought she was saving their souls.
– In 2009 Otty Sanchez dismembered her infant son in Texas and also stabbed herself. It was reported that Sanchez wasn’t taking her medication and was depressed after her son’s birth.
– And in 2011 in Tampa, Julie Schenecker shot her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son because she was tired of them “talking back,” it was reported.