A suburban Chicago mom faces charges of trying to kill her two young children by asphyxiation before she attempted suicide, PEOPLE confirms.
Tracy F. Johnson, 38, of Hoffman Estates, who previously had made threats to harm herself, allegedly acted out of anger at the father of one child and said the man “was verbally abusive and did not take her problems seriously,” prosecutors said at a court hearing last Friday, reports the Daily Herald.
Johnson allegedly told investigators she did not want the children to see the man, who lived elsewhere, and said that “heaven was the best place for all three of them,” according to prosecutors. On a whiteboard in the apartment, she allegedly had written the word “fraud” to describe him, and she told investigators she hoped he would never rest again.
Hoffman Estates Police say the children, a 5-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy, recovered and are with family.
Johnson appeared in bond court wearing a hospital gown, and was returned to a hospital after she was ordered held on a $2 million bond on two counts of attempted homicide.
It was not immediately clear if she has entered a plea. Her attorneys with the Cook County public defender’s office offered no comment on her condition.
Police officers who responded to a well-being check at the family’s apartment at 12:45 p.m. May 9 said they found the door blocked but were still able to enter.
Inside, they found Johnson unresponsive on the floor, with a strong odor of gas in the apartment. They subsequently found the children inside. All three were taken to St. Alexius Medical Center for treatment, according to a police news release obtained by PEOPLE.
Investigation revealed that Johnson, who has a master’s degree in counseling, initially ground up prescription medications and put them into smoothies that she fed the children, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Maria McCarthy alleged in court.
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When the children refused the drink because of the taste, Johnson allegedly tried feeding them the medications with water. Then she tied plastic bags over the children’s heads with rope and turned on the stove’s natural gas burners, McCarthy alleged, according to Patch.com.
Johnson meanwhile texted her mother to say she loved her. The mother contacted another daughter, who then contacted police who went to the apartment.
Authorities reported that in addition to finding Johnson unresponsive on the floor, the 5-year-old was also unresponsive and the 2-year-old was stumbling with his eyes rolled back into his head.
The children tested positive for the drug benzodiazepam, a type of medication described as a tranquilizer and familiarly known as Valium and Xanax. Johnson herself tested positive for that drug as well as opiates.
Johnson is scheduled to be back in court June 1.