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Source: Mother Found Dead with Children Was Depressed

Posted November 29, 2006
Updated November 30, 2006

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— A Cumberland County woman killed herself and her two children, authorities said Wednesday, noting all three died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Cumberland County deputies were called to the 711 Foxcroft Drive home of Faye Johnson Vick, 39, Tuesday afternoon after an acquaintance told authorities that Vick had failed to show up for a scheduled meeting.

Deputies found Vick, 2-year-old Jason William Vick and 3-month-old Madison Vick dead inside a car in the garage, authorities said.

Authorities confirmed that Faye Vick is responsible for all three deaths in what investigators are calling a double murder-suicide.

A source close to the investigation told WRAL that Faye Vick suffered from postpartum depression, but authorities haven't determined whether that was a factor in the deaths.

Doctors estimate as many as 70 percent of new mothers suffer some sort of emotional stress after giving birth. As many as 10 percent are considered depressed,
and an even smaller percentage suffers from psychosis.

Lt. Col. Jason Vick, Faye Vick's husband and the father of the two children, is stationed overseas and was on his way back to North Carolina after learning of the deaths.

The news of the deaths stunned friends, neighbors and relatives, who said Faye Vick was an upbeat, loving mother.

"I don't know what to make of it because it's just such a wonderful, wonderful family, a wonderful, wonderful family," friend Sharon Golden said.

Golden, who heads the Haymount United Methodist Church preschool that Jason William Vick attended, remembered a time when her child was in the hospital and Faye Vick provided support.

"I was worried. She's, like, "Everything's going to be fine," and helped me out in a time I was nervous," she said.

Teacher Christina Williamson said Faye Vick would often join in the fun at the preschool, adding that both children were already registered for a program next summer.

"His mom was just bubbly. She'd come in the classroom and just be as sweet as she can be, sit on the floor with us," Williamson said.

Postpartum Depression Silent Danger For Many Mothers

Formerly called the "baby blues," doctors said increased research and awareness have shown that postpartum depression is a serious condition that can leave some new mothers leaving helpless.

Anne Wimer is a mother of two who suffered from postpartum depression with both of her births. She said her worst bout happened with her second son.

"I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep," Wimer said. "I would wake up in a panic attack, feeling like I was having a heart attack or my chest was being crushed and I couldn't breathe."

Dr. Samatha Meltzer-Brody works with the UNC Center for Women's Mood Disorders. She said that while most cases of postpartum depression are mild to moderate, the extreme cases involving psychosis are particularly dangerous for both mother and child.

"It is very serious," said Meltzer-Brody. "It has a 5 percent risk of suicide in the mother and a 4 percent risk of fantasizing or killing the baby."

Meltzer-Brody said it's critical for spouses and family members to pay close attention to new mothers who aren't sleeping or eating properly or who begin acting strangely.

"The sooner you get help, the sooner a woman's symptoms will resolve," she said.

One of the most well-known and shocking cases of postpartum depression involved Andrea Yates. The Texas mother was convicted of drowning her five children five years ago. The condition got even more attention when actress Brooke Shields admitted she suffered from it and had thoughts of killing her little girl.

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