Woman charged in capital murder of 2 children, placed in isolation

FOX 26 News reporter John Donnelly

- Balloons attached to the crime scene hang limply and quietly in the soft rain. There are no answers here, only this question -- why? Why would a mother drown her own kids in the bathtub? In probable cause court where Sheborah Thomas was scheduled to make her first appearance, there were no answers to that question either, just answers to the question of how?

Because Thomas, who is charged with capital murder, was already placed in administrative isolation for her safety, she did not appear in court in person or by teleconference. A spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office says she was isolated because it’s a high-profile case and for her safety. She is not considered a suicide risk.

Prosecutors said on Friday that she picked up her son and daughter from the child care center and brought them home. She fed them. Then she drowned her daughter and did the same to her five-year-old son.

“She also placed him in the water and tried to hold him down by his head," said the prosecutor. "He began to struggle and grab her hand and she continued to force his head under water until he stopped struggling and moving.” 

The bodies of the two children were found under a neighbor's home on Sunday after Thomas, 30, matter-of-factly told someone helping her move that she had drowned them in a bathtub, authorities said.

She told police that she placed both children on the bed at first, but then decided to move them.

“That same day she placed them in a black trash can behind the house," added the prosecutor. "The following morning, Saturday, she went to work to get her paycheck because she had to leave the location and her job wouldn't give it to her too soon, so she came back to the house."

Thomas told investigators she tried to bury them using only a piece of wood, but because that took so long, she rolled them under her neighbor's home. Later, she casually confessed her crime to an acquaintance in the neighborhood. He notified police.

The case has led to comparisons to the Andrea Yates case. In 2001, Yates drowned her five children in the bathtub. They ranged in age from 6 months to seven years old. She was originally convicted but later found not guilty by reason of insanity. Her attorney, George Parnham, convinced the court that Yates has profound postpartum depression and psychosis and was living in an alternate reality.

During an interview on FOX 26 Morning News, Parnham said that Thomas’ casual confession is significant.

“The very candor with which she expressed it and what I've been able to gather is there's no ulterior motive that existed and that's the first thing that you look for," said Parnham. "Is there an insurance issue? Spousal revenge? So far I've not seen anything like that."

"All indications are she is the one who acted alone" in the deaths of her 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter, explained Houston police spokesman Kese Smith on Sunday.

Smith also said investigators had not determined a motive. 

"She was so matter of fact about it, he (the acquaintance to whom she confessed the deaths) didn't think she was serious," said Smith. "He thought she was joking. He continued to help her pack."

Smith said the man eventually realized something was wrong when he asked again and got the same answer. He then drove Thomas toward a nearby police precinct and flagged down an officer.

Authorities were not immediately aware of Thomas having any history of mental health problems, Smith told FOX 26. He said police had been to the home before but for "nothing major."

The children's aunt said on Sunday if Thomas was having trouble with the children, she should have called family.

"Every single parent might need a break," said Kita Thomas, Sheborah's sister-in-law. "She would call us, or we would call her hearing she's having a hard time. We'd call her like, 'Hey, you need a break? We'll come get the kids we'll take care of the kids that's no problem." 

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