Sheriff: Mom planned shooting daughters, tried to kill husband
MABANK, Texas - The woman accused of murdering her two children in Henderson County planned their deaths and tried to kill her husband, the sheriff revealed.
Sarah Henderson, 29, is charged with capital murder for the deaths of her daughters -- 5-year-old Kenlie and 7-year-old Kaylee – early Thursday morning. She was arraigned on Friday.
Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said the shooting may not have been a random event.
“Through the investigation, we learned that for the last couple of weeks this was a planned event,” he said. “Henderson also attempted yesterday to shoot her husband. The pistol misfired and that’s when he was able to take the pistol away from her and call law enforcement.”
The sheriff said investigators are still working on the motive for the murders.
“We still haven’t gotten down to the reason of why. It’s still early in the investigation and we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he said. “That’s one thing we’re trying to get to the bottom of, but we haven’t gotten that answer yet.”
Hillhouse said Sarah confessed to the crime while investigators were questioning her. So far he said she hasn’t shown any signs of remorse. Her husband, Jake Henderson, was also questioned but was later released. He is not the biological father of either of the girls.
The sheriff wouldn't talk about the evidence found in the family’s home but said everything seems to be adding up.
“The physical evidence is leading us to… to give us some answers,” he said. “We can’t go into a lot of detail right now because it’s still early stages of the investigation and we don’t want to harm the investigation. But everything’s coming together.”
Henderson is currently under suicide watch at the county jail. The sheriff said that is standard protocol for people who are charged with serious offenses until a medical professional can give the all clear.
She will be arraigned at the jail and her bond will be set. The case will then be sent to the district attorney’s office and put before the grand jury for an indictment.
THE 911 CALLS
What began as a request to disregard a 911 call ended with the children’s deaths less than three hours later.
Just hours before the two children were shot, Jake called 911 to report his wife seemed suicidal. He then called back to say Sarah was fine.
Around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, something prompted Jake to call 911.
"I wanted to know if I can get someone out here to check my wife out,” he told the dispatcher.
A conflict between Jake and his Sarah can be heard in the background of the call. Then, the call disconnected. EMS personnel contacted the sheriff's office for assistance, and EMS called back.
Dispatch: "Okay, tell me exactly what's going on."
Jake: "My wife, she's about… I don't know she's about to put. I don't know. Something's going on with her.”
Dispatch: “Okay, can you describe what's going on? The symptoms?”
Jake: “Like, she's freaking out like somebody's out to get her. “
Sarah: “I'm gonna. I'm gonna.”
Jake: “No, you're not.”
Sarah: “Yes, I am.”
Jake: “This is not good.”
After about 30 seconds, Jake changed his mind.
Jake: “She's saying she's alright now.”
Dispatch: “Is she violent?”
Jake: “No, ma'am. She's saying she's fine now.”
Jake told dispatchers his wife was fine two more times, answering 'no' when asked if she was suicidal. He even called back to cancel the request for service.
Jake: “She's fine now.”
Dispatch: “Let me just verify. You want to cancel the call at this time?”
Jake: “Yes, ma'am.”
A sheriff's deputy went to the house anyway but left after a man and woman at the home said they did not need assistance. But two hours and 40 minutes later, Jake called 911 to report the shootings.
Dispatch: “Are they in the bedroom?”
Jake: “They're in the living room.”
Dispatch: “And they're not breathing?”
As Jake told the dispatcher his wife was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Sarah can be heard in the background questioning her actions.
Sarah: “God, forgive me please. Why did I do that, babe?”
Jake: “I don't know.”
Sarah: “What's going on here, Jake?”
Jake: “Nothing's going on. That's what I tried telling you. She keeps saying somebody's after her. There's nobody after her. She keeps saying people are coming. There's nobody even here.”
Sarah: “You don’t understand, Jake. You don’t understand, babe! You don’t understand.”
Jake: “Don’t understand what? What are you talking about?!”
Sarah: “I can’t stop, Jake.”
Jake: “Can’t stop what?!”
Sarah: “I don’t know. “
Jake: “What did you — Why did you do it?!”
Throughout the call, Jake urged Sarah to stop trying to choke herself. At one point, she asks him to shoot her, which he refused.
Sarah: “Why didn't you tell me to calm down?”
Jake: “I told you that last night. You said you were fine.”
During the call, Sarah tried to take the gun from her husband while he was on the phone. She never explained why she says she killed her children but only said to her husband that he didn't understand.