Woman Who Killed Daughters
Los Angeles Times
May 27, 2005
A woman who shot her two daughters in an
abandoned quarry and then led police to the bodies pleaded guilty
to murder in Stevenson in a deal with prosecutors that is to send
her to prison for 63 years.
Charlene Dorcy, 39, killed the girls, 2 and 4,
with a rifle last June in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Dorcy had stopped taking medication for
paranoid schizophrenia in favor of herbal remedies because of
concern about side effects, her husband said.
Mother guilty of kids’ murder
Callimachi - Associated Press
May 27, 2005
STEVENSON, Wash. – A Vancouver woman who led
police to the bodies of her two daughters in a rock quarry nearly
a year ago pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of first-degree
murder in a plea deal that will send her to prison for 63 years.
Charlene Dorcy had originally been charged with
aggravated murder, which could have carried a sentence of life in
prison without parole, or else the death sentence. Prosecutors had
earlier decided not to pursue the death penalty.
By pleading guilty to the lesser charges,
Dorcy, 39, will still spend the bulk of her life in prison, said
her attorney, Chris Lanz – but she will avoid the emotional toil
of a long trial.
On June 12, 2004, Dorcy led detectives to an
abandoned rock quarry deep inside the Gifford Pinchot National
Forest, where the bodies of her 2- and 4-year-old daughters
Dorcy later told investigators she had shot her
daughters multiple times with her husband’s .22-caliber rifle.
Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic when she
was a teenager, Dorcy had been taking medication but had stopped
the treatment roughly four years before the murders in favor of
herbal remedies, her husband Robert Dorcy has said.
The case against Dorcy was postponed several
times because of questions regarding her competence to stand
trial. In October, a Skamania County judge ordered her committed
to a hospital and treated with anti-psychotic medication for six
months. Since the treatment, doctors have asserted that she
During Thursday’s court hearing, Dorcy – choked
by tears – delivered a rambling statement that talked about
injustices against animals and Jews, but did not mention
“Unless you are a vegetarian, every time you
eat meat you’re a murderer,” she said.
In between sobs, she raged against holding
animals in zoos: “I know how they feel,” she said.
Asked to comment on Dorcy’s statement, Skamania
County Prosecutor Peter Banks said: “One thing we’ve never heard
from her is that she’s sorry.”
“I have no doubt she knew that what she was
doing was wrong,” Banks said of the murders.
Roughly one hour after the murder, Dorcy
stopped in this tiny town perched above the Columbia River and
called her sister-in-law from a pay telephone to confess to the
crime, prosecutors and Dorcy’s husband have said. She then drove
to a police station in her hometown of Vancouver and asked to lead
detectives to her children’s bodies.
Lanz, Dorcy’s attorney, was asked by reporters
whether his client felt remorse.
“She did shed tears – the cause of those
emotions only she can know,” Lanz replied.
Prosecutor Peter Banks said that the earliest
Dorcy could be released is at the age of 95 – effectively a
Vancouver mother held in
slayings of two daughters
By Hal Bernton, Doug Merlino and Nick Perry -
June 14, 2004
VANCOUVER, Wash. — A 38-year-old suburban
Vancouver woman fatally shot her preschool-age daughters Saturday
in remote Skamania County, police said, and left their small
bodies in an abandoned rock pit in the shadow of Mount Adams.
Police yesterday declined to discuss what may
have caused Charlene A. Dorcy to reportedly kill the girls, then
call police and lead them to the bodies of Jessica, 4, and
But neighbors in a cul-de-sac full of young
families in Hazel Dell, a Vancouver suburb, described a woman who
battled her temper, spoke of suffering from mental illness, and
once suggested she might be thinking about killing her daughters.
"She asked me what would I think of her, as a
Christian, if she killed her kids," said next-door neighbor
Cates said she reported the conversation to
state Child Protective Services, but she said officials declined
CPS officials yesterday said they would
investigate Cates' report.
Dorcy, who has no apparent criminal record in
Washington, was being held in the Skamania County Jail yesterday
on suspicion of two counts of first-degree murder, said Skamania
County Undersheriff Dave Cox. She is due in court today or
tomorrow, but as of last night she had not been formally charged.
Dorcy called Vancouver police about 5:30 p.m.
Saturday and told them she had killed her two daughters, Cox said.
She then led Clark County and Skamania County sheriff's detectives
to the rock pit in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, a spot 33
miles north of the Columbia River city of Carson in Skamania
The children apparently were killed somewhere
inside the Wind River Recreation Area and driven to the old rock
pit near Lone Butte.
Detectives yesterday were combing the quarry
and interviewing family members, Cox said.
Charlene Dorcy lived with her husband, Robert,
45, and their two daughters on a cul-de-sac ringed with duplexes
filled with children who often gathered in the dead-end street to
ride their bicycles and tricycles, neighbors said.
The Dorcy home was a favorite gathering place,
with a back yard full of plastic swings, see-saws, cars and other
Neighbor Earl Eshleman, 21, who lives two
houses away, said he often saw the Dorcys playing with the
children in the cul-de-sac. Charlene Dorcy always wore sweat
pants, and the girls were often on tricycles.
"Every day, all the kids (in the neighborhood)
run around and play, and the (slain girls) were in the midst of
them," Eshleman said.
The slayings shocked neighbors, he added.
"There's really no words to say about it," he said. "It's surreal
But several neighbors said they detected
potential trouble in Charlene Dorcy.
Some said she could be difficult, flying off
the handle over the mundane hassles of suburban life, such as the
position of a parked car or a noisy fence-repair project.
Neighbors also said she appeared controlling
and very protective of her daughters.
Once Charlene Dorcy insisted that Jessica wear
not only a helmet but also knee pads while riding her bike, said
Angela Traylor, who lives several houses up the tree-lined street.
By contrast, neighbors described Robert Dorcy
as a quiet, doting father who returned home every day at the same
time from his job across the Columbia River in Oregon.
Robert Dorcy was at home yesterday but declined
Eshleman said Charlene Dorcy once called the
police on Eshleman's 7-year-old brother because the boy called her
"fat." Police officers lectured the boy on manners.
Robert Dorcy apologized the next day, saying
his wife was high-strung, Eshleman said.
Neighbors said Charlene Dorcy had recently
spoken of being mentally ill, a condition she described as
social-anxiety illness and her "disability."
"She said she didn't want her illness to affect
them (her daughters)," Traylor said. "She wanted her kids' life to
be better than her life."
Neighbors said they didn't know if she had been
receiving treatment. Most said they had never been invited into
the Dorcy home.
When Charlene Dorcy spoke to Cates, her
neighbor, about killing her children, Cates said she immediately
reported the conversation to CPS.
According to Cates, the state official she
spoke with said the agency couldn't do anything unless Cates
witnessed physical abuse.
The official advised her to call police if she
saw such behavior, Cates said. She never did, so she never called.
But Cates said she decided to end her
children's visits to the Dorcys' back yard.
Kathy Spears, a CPS spokeswoman, said the
Department of Social and Health Services would investigate to
determine whether there are any records on the children, and what
exactly was reported to CPS staff.
"To send a CPS worker out and start an
investigation, it usually requires some sort of incident," Spears
said. "It's just very difficult to act on an allegation about a
threat, even though it can be very serious."
She said legally "the child has to be at
immediate risk of harm," to trigger a CPS investigation.
"Either he's at risk of serious bodily harm or
death," Spears said. "That could be someone seeing severe marks,
broken bones or violence."
At the same time, CPS takes threats seriously,
particularly with multiple incidents, or a pattern of problematic
Neighbors say police came to the family home
twice early Saturday evening. The second time, when nobody was
home, they broke down the door, possibly in an attempt to locate
Mother leads police to bodies
of 2 girls
June 14, 2004
CARSON, Wash. — Detectives found the bodies of
two young girls at a southwestern Washington rock pit after their
mother called police to say she had killed them, authorities said.
Charlene A. Dorcy, 39, told officers Saturday
evening that she had taken her two children — 2-year-old Brittany
and 4-year-old Jessica Dorcy — to the Wind River recreation area,
where she shot and killed them, Skamania County Undersheriff Dave
Cox said Sunday.
Cox said Dorcy led detectives to an abandoned
rock pit off forest road 30, approximately 33 miles northeast of
Carson, Wash., where they found the bodies. The Carson area is
near the north banks of the Columbia River about 40 miles east
Authorities believe Dorcy had driven her
daughters nearly two hours from their home in Hazel Dell, near
Vancouver, to the deserted rock pit, KGW-TV in Portland reported.
Dorcy was being held in Skamania County Jail in
Stevenson on Sunday for investigation of two counts of
first-degree murder. She was on suicide watch, KGW-TV reported.
Cox said no court appearance had been scheduled.
Autopsies were expected for the girls.
“Our hearts are ripped out like anybody else’s.
We have children, we are parents and cannot fathom for a moment
ever doing something like this … it digs deep inside and tears us
up,” Skamania County Sheriff Dave Brown said.
Sheriff’s officers planned to speak with
Dorcy’s husband before commenting on her mental state.
Investigators asked that anyone who was in the
Lone Butte area of Skamania County on Saturday afternoon and has
information about the case call (509) 427-8783.