Julie Powers Schenecker, the mother in Tampa, Fla. who confessed to murdering both of her children in cold blood Friday morning, did not appear in court yesterday because she went to the hospital to undergo treatment for an unknown condition.

Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies declined to comment on her condition, citing health care privacy laws.

Schenecker called the sheriff’s office on Friday morning, saying that she was concerned because her 16-year-old daughter sent her an e-mail saying that she was “depressed.”

Police showed up and found Schenecker sitting on her back porch drenched in blood.

Schenecker later confessed that day that she shot her 13-year-old son twice in the head for “talking back” to her as she was driving him to soccer practice.

She also confessed that she then drove back to her family’s upper-class home and shot her daughter in the face.

Both children, who were shot with a .38 caliber handgun, “Never saw it coming,” said a police spokeswoman. The spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Schenecker’s mysterious hospital stay is an attempt to angle for an insanity defense.

In 1995, South Carolina mother Susan Smith was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for drowning her two young children in her family’s SUV.
Smith claimed a defense of not guilty by reason of mental defect in that case, with her lawyers arguing that she suffered from “narcissistic delusions.”