LAKE IN THE HILLS – Although Lake in the Hills police said they will not speculate on any motive for why Carla M. Lopez-Mejia strangled her two children and hanged herself, police reports shed more light on the murder-suicide.
“The ultimate issue here is it’s just a tragedy for all those involved, family and community alike,” Lake in the Hills police officer Amanda Schmitt said Wednesday.
On Jan. 10, Lake in the Hills police and Huntley Fire Protection District personnel were called to a home in the 2300 block of Daybreak Drive. Lopez-Mejia, 27, was found hanged on the first floor, and her two children – 11-year-old Ezequiel Garcia and 8-year-old Ariana Garcia – were found upstairs, strangled, according to reports from police and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.
“I can’t stop the pain. I can’t leave my kids behind to suffer,” read a letter that police said Lopez-Mejia left in a spiral notebook on a kitchen table at the crime scene.
Police reports, which were received by the Northwest Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request with some information redacted, show that the days leading up to the murder-suicide were mixed with normalcy and signs that revealed Lopez-Mejia had contemplated suicide.
The day before Ezequiel and Ariana died, Lopez-Mejia took them to Kids First Pediatric Dentistry in Elgin, according to police reports. The dentist told police the kids “seemed happy” and Lopez-Mejia “seemed fine.” That same day, Lopez-Mejia went to the home of a man she had met on a dating website and begged him for his gun, according to police reports. The man told police that Lopez-Mejia had tried to manipulate him to feel sympathy or empathy with suggestions that she was pregnant.
The man told police this could have been prevented, and he should have been more sensitive.
“There is no information to suggest [Lopez-Mejia] was pregnant at the time of the murder-suicide, and there is no information to suggest there was any recent pregnancy,” Schmitt said to the Northwest Herald on Wednesday.
A search of Lopez-Mejia’s web browsers revealed that at the start of January, she had visited websites including Match.com and Militarycupid.com, searched for information on how to get a free credit score, and searched for photos of ultrasounds, abortion pills and clonazepam liquid.
She also had viewed an article called “7 Easiest Painless Ways of Killing Yourselves Quickest,” with “hanging” listed as the second option.
More than one person told police in interviews conducted the day of and in the days after the murder-suicide that Lopez-Mejia had been on depression and anxiety medications but had not been taking them recently.
One man, who told police he was married but separated from Lopez-Mejia, said that Lopez-Mejia did not have many friends and would shut herself off sometimes.
A cousin showed police Lopez-Mejia’s Facebook page, on which she recently had shared posts that read messages including: “Angels belong in heaven,” and “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
One woman said Lopez-Mejia had told her that she recently was prescribed a new antidepressant, but she had stopped taking medication about six months ago because she wanted to “start fresh” and “flush all toxins out of her body.”
Lopez-Mejia worked in customer service for Chase Bank. An employee told police that Lopez-Mejia left work Jan. 7 after she vomited at work because she had started a new medication.
Police redacted the names of most people they interviewed.
A Jan. 24 police report shows that, according to a report from the Department of Child and Family Services, there was an allegation of marijuana being present in Lopez-Mejia’s home. DCFS said there was no indication of neglect of the children.
The report also shows that Lopez-Mejia said she had a mental health diagnosis that she was taking medication for. Lopez-Mejia had completed therapy for mental health problems, and she was monitored by a medical doctor for her psychotropic medications, according to the report.
Multiple people mentioned in interviews with police that Ezequiel and Ariana always were happy, and that their mother “loved those kids too much.”
Neither of the children had been called in absent for school, according to police reports. Ezequiel was a sixth-grade student at Marlowe Middle School in Lake in the Hills, and Ariana was a third-grade student at Martin Elementary School.
In the letter Lopez-Mejia left, she wrote that she gave her children a sedative and “they went peacefully.”
A plastic cup containing milk and an empty droplet bottle labeled Rivotril Clonazepam was found in the kitchen garbage can, according to a crime scene technician report. Lopez-Mejia and her children had aminoclonazepam in their blood, according to the coroner’s office.
The drug was not what killed the children, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski said in the report, but it sedated them. She did not know how sedated the children were at the time they were strangled, according to the report.
In the letter, Lopez-Mejia wrote that she knew life was hard for many, and that she’s no special case.
“But I’ve never been loved. I have no real friends, no one by my side,” Lopez-Mejia wrote.
In the letter, Lopez-Mejia wrote that she was a single mother who cried every night for someone to complete her family and that she had tried her hardest for her kids by working 40 hours a week and going to school.
This country and world is “no longer humane,” Lopez-Mejia wrote.
“I want to never hurt again. I want my kids to not grow up feeling like this,” the letter read.
In a statement from Lake in the Hills police, Schmitt said that in the wake of this tragedy, she hopes the community will give the family the respect and time they need to heal.
“As a community, we appreciate all of those who came together to offer support, help and services,” Schmitt said in the statement. “It is the kindness and generosity of the Lake in the Hills community that makes our village and its citizens stand out in a time of need.”
Help for anyone feeling depressed is available, 24 hours a day by calling the McHenry County Crisis Line at 800-892-8900.