LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri woman who told police she intentionally drove into the Kansas River while trying to kill herself and her two young children pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Scharron Dingledine, 26, of Columbia, Missouri, entered the plea Monday in Douglas County Court in Lawrence, Kansas. As part of the plea, she won’t be eligible for parole for 25 years, The Lawrence Journal-World reported .
Prosecutors say Dingledine drove a car into the Kansas River near downtown Lawrence in August. Rescuers pulled Dingledine and her 1-year-old son, Elijah Lake, from the water but were not able to save her 5-year-old daughter, Amiyah Bradley. Her body was recovered from the river the next day. Elijah was critically injured.
A probable cause affidavit released in the case says Dingledine told police that she had a fight with her boyfriend, she was voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital for several hours on Aug. 2, one day before she drove her car into the river in downtown Lawrence, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of her hometown of Columbia, Missouri.
After she was released from the hospital, her boyfriend agreed to take her to a shelter. But when he stopped at a store, Dingledine drove off in his car, with the children inside, she told detectives. She later stole another vehicle near Columbia and drove to the Kansas City area, where she spent the night in the vehicle. She drove to Lawrence Aug. 3 and was “feeling depressed and worried about the consequences of her actions” on the previous day, according to the affidavit.
The document said she drove to the Kansas River, parked and let the children walk around and put their feet in the water. She said she decided the river was a good way to kill herself and she decided to kill the children “because she didn’t want anyone else to have them.”
She told detectives she accelerated into the river while the children were unrestrained in the front seat. She said she knew neither child could swim and “would likely die,” according to the affidavit.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com