Mom accused of killing children was a devoted mother and nurse, friends wrote

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Letters written by more than a dozen of Lindsay Clancy’s friends and colleagues portray the Massachusetts mother accused of strangling her three young children as someone who «lived and breathed for her children» and always wanted what was best for them.

The letters, which were sent to Plymouth District Court and obtained by NBC News, also describe the labor and delivery nurse as a serene presence at the hospital, with a colleague referring to Clancy as «the nurse you’d like to take care of his wife, sister.» , or daughter as they welcome her son into the world.”

Clancy, 32, is charged with multiple counts in the death of her 5-year-old daughter, Cora; her 3-year-old son, Dawson; and her 8-month-old son, Callan. Prosecutors said she strangled the children on January 24 at the family’s home in Duxbury, Massachusetts, and then tried to kill herself. She was processed last week from a hospital bed.

Clancy’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, said she is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of her suicide attempt.

The letters sent to Reddington were written before Clancy’s arraignment and are in stark contrast to the portrait prosecutors painted of her.

“I can vouch for Lindsay’s true character and I know that whatever happened that day, it was not the real Lindsay that we all love and cherish,” wrote Juliet Pollander, a nurse who worked with Clancy for eight years. What she is accused of, Pollander wrote, «were unthinkable acts, so far removed from what the truly loving mother I knew would have done.»

The Clancy family home.
The Clancy family home.google maps

Prosecutors allege that Clancy meticulously planned the deaths of her children and sent her husband, Patrick, on errands that she knew would give her enough time to strangle them. They said she used the Apple Maps app to time a trip to a restaurant in a neighboring town where she picked up takeout.

However, the letters about her praise her skills as a mother.

“I don’t know a better mother than Lindsay Clancy. She lived and breathed for her children,” wrote Erika Sevieri, a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, where Clancy worked. «I rarely heard her talk about anything other than them.»

It was unclear if the 20 or so letters were sent at the request of the defense or volunteered by friends and colleagues, though one letter was described as a «character reference requested by Patrick Clancy.»

NBC News contacted the authors of the letters cited in this article, who declined to comment further or did not immediately respond.

Her letters describe Clancy as being so focused on the welfare of her children that she was almost obsessive. She one of her said that she sometimes checked her children with a stethoscope.

“She had a special bond with all of her children and was very proud to be a mother.”

Long time friend of Lindsay Clancy

In another, a friend since first grade said that Clancy would do anything to protect his children.

“When Cora was born, her nursing mom skills took over and she would check Cora’s vitals at home just to make sure she was okay,” wrote Michelle DaConto. «She had a special bond with all of her children and she was very proud to be a mother.»

A ‘calming presence’ for moms-to-be

Clancy’s colleagues also noted how attentive she was to her children even when she was at work.

“She spied on them in the middle of the night through baby monitors and shared images of her sleeping children with us, her coworkers,” wrote Margaret Hamp, a Mass General nurse. She «she watched them sleep while she took breaks to express breast milk in the middle of the night.»

Clancy shined as both a nurse and a mother, other nurses wrote.

Image: Lindsay Clancy, top right, wearing a surgical mask over her face at a hospital appears during her arraignment on charges relating to the deaths of her three children at Plymouth District Court on February 7, 2023, in Plymouth , Mass.
Lindsay Clancy, top right, wearing a surgical mask over her face at a hospital, appears during her arraignment on charges relating to the deaths of her three children at Plymouth District Court on February 7, 2023, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool

Heather Fraser wrote that Clancy brought «a calming presence to any room and never engages in nonsense or gossip.»

Clancy was known to mentor new nurses, eager to be a resource to them, and patients «praised the loving and compassionate care she provided them,» Sevieri wrote.

Patient Shelby Oster described Clancy in a letter as «the best nurse I’ve ever had» and «my cheerleader through two and a half days of labor that ended with an emergency C-section.»

“She always remained level-headed and calm, even during the many stressful situations that unfolded during our labor and delivery experience,” Oster wrote.

Clancy is due to appear in court on May 2. He was ordered held without bail at the hospital for mental health treatment. The judge said he could be ordered home confinement, adding that a hearing would take place before that happens.

A need for help that was not met

Reddington, Clancy’s attorney, said the mother had postpartum depression «and possibly postpartum psychosis,» a rare condition in which hallucinations alter people’s sense of reality after childbirth, sometimes leading them to harm themselves. themselves or their children.

She told the judge that she had been «completely destroyed» by various medications, including Valium, Prozac, Klonopin and Zoloft, which she said masked her symptoms rather than treating them.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said Clancy never used the word «psychosis» to describe her symptoms until she was arrested while talking to her husband on a cell phone belonging to a forensic psychologist whom her attorney arranged to examine her.

More coverage of this case

Michele Davidson, a psychiatric perinatal nurse and board member of the advocacy group Postpartum Support International who is not involved in Clancy’s case, said those who commit infanticide generally don’t think they are doing anything wrong. Rather, infanticide «generally stems from an act of love in which people try to save their children,» she said.

In cases where mothers intend to commit suicide, they sometimes commit infanticide so as not to abandon the children, he added.

Still, those who wrote letters of support said it was clear Clancy didn’t get the help he needed.

Stacey Kabat, who said Clancy followed her when she was a nursing student, wrote that she and her family members «were betrayed by an inadequate medical system that has not dedicated enough resources or time to learning how to help our new mothers.»

«Keep in mind that if our Lindsay received proper treatment, this family would still be together,» Kabat wrote. «Please know that she doesn’t deserve any more punishment.»

If you are pregnant or a new mother and you are in crisis, the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in English and Spanish. Call or text the hotline at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741, or visit TalkingSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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