Christmas of 2016 in Shrewsbury Township, Pennsylvania, a 40 year old wife and mother by the name of Sheri Shermeyer posted an angry, in depth letter to her husband on Facebook. Just afterwords she smothered her 12 month old son, John, then crawled into her bed, and shot herself. Two hours after she posted to Facebook, the bodies of Sheri and her baby were discovered.
Sheri had been suffering from PTSD; she’d become hopeless, helpless, and decided she couldn’t hold on anymore. Her situation isn’t terribly unique, especially at Christmas; according to statistics, family murders and suicides skyrocket!
In December 17th of 2018 a 52 year old Kent, Washington woman by the name of Svetlana Laurel had been having a difficult time. She was in the middle of a tumultuous divorce, had lost custody of her children, and she’d recently been fired from her job. It’s safe to say that Svetlana was angry with the world, and she decided to take this burning anger out on her very own family. She drove to the home where her 14 year old daughter, Natalie Gulizia, and 12 year old son (name not released) resided with their father, Michael. The boy, who just so happened to be home alone when his mother showed up, let his mama come inside – why wouldn’t he? It was Christmas time, and mama had come bearing gifts – Svetlana gifted her son his old clothes. She said it was the only thing she could afford to give – but in reality it was likely just a ruse to be invited inside; sadly there was no way the boy ever would’ve dreamt that his mama was packing a gun and a tazer. Svetlana sweetly asked her son to give her a tour of the residence; once upstairs, she bound the boy up with zip ties and shoved a sock in his mouth.
When Natalie and her father came home, they found themselves in a deadly situation. Svetlana held them all hostage; the mother was threatening to use the weapons on her 12 year old little boy, and her ex husband. The brave teenaged girl somehow found a way to make a call to 911, she informed them of exactly what was going on; this call with dispatch lasted 15 minutes. When Svetlana found her daughter on the phone, the operator heard the mother threaten to “blow your head off”, the sound of zip ties, and terrifying screams in the background.
Svetlana did exactly as she’d threatened, poor Natalie was shot and killed; the gun was then turned on Michael, but thankfully it jammed. The devastated father was easily able to overpower his murderous ex – it’s surprising her didn’t kill her. I’d say she’d have deserved it!
Anyways, Svetlana’s motive was that she’d felt Michael had ruined her life; he’d taken her children away, though it must be said that she’d stood a really good chance of getting them back had she taken a simple parenting class. She was arrested for 3 counts of unlawful imprisonment, attempted first degree murder, and first degree murder. There is no update on this case, but I promise to keep an eye on it and updates when something happens.
As I said earlier, this time of year makes people do things they wouldn’t usually do. A lot of people have suffered losses and the holidays magnify this; others are suffering mental illnesses and this is often worse this time of year. If you are hurting, please reach out to someone! Family, friends, mental health groups online. Facebook has some really great ones! Heck, I own one of those groups! Just message me! Personally with losing my brother in August, and 4 more beloved family members since November I’m really struggling this Christmas as well – there’s absolutely no shame in admitting that! And if none of those options listed above are helping enough, there are mental health services available. Here are some phone numbers, in case anyone needs them. Whatever happens, just please stay with us! I swear there are people who care!
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-866-934-2395. Postpartum Support International: 800-994-4PPD (4773)
For my friends across the pond, some 24 hour hotline numbers in the United Kingdom:
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92
Hotline: 1850 60 90 90
Hotline: 1850 60 90 91