Saturday, September 20, 2003

Woman runs van in garage, calls 911

Accused of trying to kill self, 2 kids

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NORTH FAIRMOUNT - A woman who worked for a day care referral service is accused of trying to kill herself and two pre-school aged children by putting them in her minivan in a closed garage and starting the engine.

Tricia McClure, 34, worked at 4C, a clearinghouse for child-care help. But Thursday morning, she was despondent and "felt she had no other choice" but to put the 3-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl in the minivan in an attempt to kill them with carbon monoxide, said Cincinnati police Detective Linda Day.

But after about a half hour in the van, Day said, McClure had second thoughts. She took the children outside and called 911 - crying to the dispatcher for help.

When firefighters arrived about 11:30 a.m., McClure was sitting on some steps with the children, who were "quite upset, crying, hysterical and appeared to be somewhat lethargic," Day said.

The children, treated at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, are being cared for by a relative of McClure. McClure was charged with two counts of felonious assault. She remained jailed Friday in lieu of posting bond. Protective orders say she cannot have any contact with the children.

McClure is not the children's biological mother, but Day wouldn't elaborate on their relationship. During the 911 call, McClure refers to herself as the kids' "mommy."

As for why McClure changed her mind, Day said: "The children had a lot to do with it."

Neither alcohol nor drugs were involved. The incident happened on Costello Avenue, at a relative's home where she and the children spent the night, Day said. No one else was home at the time.

Sallie Westheimer, 4C director, said McClure processed claims at the agency for daycare providers to get money to buy meals for low-income children.


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