By Bill Laitner
A Waterford mom with a history of child abuse gave her four kids milkshakes laced with sleeping pills, turned the thermostat to 53 and as the house got chilled told them to join her in the family van where she’d run the heater and they’d spend the night — with the garage door shut and her suicide note on the dashboard.
But the oldest, a 14-year-old daughter, fell asleep in a bedroom while her mother was in the garage, inhaling enough carbon monoxide to end her own life and leaving the garage and house so filled with poisonous exhaust fumes that two children almost died and all four required emergency hospital treatment.
That’s the tale Waterford police told today in the bizarre case of a mother who wasn’t even supposed to be keeping her children overnight, Waterford police chief Dan McCaw said.
“She was allowed unsupervised visits only during the day,” McCaw said.
“We understand she contacted (foster care authorities) Saturday night that she would not be returning the kids due to inclement weather,” he said. Police are investigating why authorities did not react until Monday morning, after the 14-year-old daughter had called police, to lodge a complaint of parental kidnapping, McCaw said.
“That’s one more thing we’re looking at,” he said
“We have this up for domestic violence review,” Dr. L.J. Dragovic said. The four children, aged 10,11,13 and 14, suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, two of them seriously, and were rushed by police to two hospitals Monday after one of the children called police at 8:18 a.m. to report their mother was “cold” and unresponsive on the floor of the garage, Waterford police said.
“We hear that the children are out of danger, but this could have been a far greater tragedy,” Dragovic said. Shanda Lou Yenglin, 37, had the four children in the garage with her while running the car with the garage door closed in the 6400 block of Barker Drive, near Williams Lake, authorities said.
Waterford township police said today that the mother gave the children “sleeping or pain type medication” Sunday night, apparently to make them more docile in her attempt to murder them.
Police found the home thermostat at 53 degrees and the house cold, apparently as part of a ruse by the mother to have the children stay with her in a 1998 Chevrolet van, with its engine running in the closed garage. There was a suicide note on the dashboard that they believe she wrote.
On Monday morning, the 13-year-old daughter awoke in the van to find her mother unconscious on the floor of the garage, and ran into the house to alert the 14 year-old, who then called the police, Sgt. Scott Good said.
The woman adopted all four children from foster homes, authorities said.