Fifteen-year-old Morrison, Illinois teenager Anna Schroeder has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, concealment of homicidal death, and arson, after allegedly shooting her mother, Peggy Schroeder, and, with the help of her friend, burning down her mother’s house to hide evidence of the crime.
A report from the New York Post went into detail about the horrific crime, which, according to police reports, started when Anna Schroeder waited for her mom Peggy to return home from work on Thursday. Allegedly, Anna was wielding a.38 revolver as she lay in wait, and when Peggy arrived from work, Anna asked her mother to cover her face with a towel. Police testimonies suggest that that was when the teenager shot her mother in the head in the living room.
After the shooting, Anna allegedly texted her best friend, fellow 15-year-old Rachel Helm, telling her that she had just killed her mother. While Rachel was initially skeptical about her friend’s claims, Anna reportedly sent a photo of Peggy Schroeder’s dead body. Helm would then head over to the Schroeder house, and would allegedly help Anna in cleaning blood out of the carpet before heading off to bed.
On Friday, Anna Schroeder and Rachel Helm allegedly moved Peggy Schroeder’s body to her bedroom, covering her with a sheet. While the two teens were initially planning to do more cleaning, they purportedly decided to set the house on fire on Saturday to burn the evidence.
A separate report from the Sauk Valley News suggests that both teens were planning to run away on Friday night, and had dyed their hair in an attempt to disguise themselves. The next morning, they returned to the Schroeder house to burn it down, with Rachel allegedly setting fire to the bed sheet that covered Peggy, as well as the bed sheets in Anna’s room. The teens then hid Anna’s phone and the.38 revolver used in the murder at nearby Grove Hill Cemetery.
The New York Post noted that firefighters found Peggy Schroeder’s body on Saturday afternoon after responding to reports of the burning house. Later that day, Rachel reportedly became overcome with guilt, and confessed everything that happened to her mother. She was then taken to the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department for questioning at around 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.
As Rachel Helm was being questioned by authorities, Anna Schroeder reportedly took to Facebook on Saturday evening to post a message on her mom’s page, according to the Sauk Valley News.
“I don’t even know if you can see me right now but if you can I just want you to know you were my best friend. I wasn’t always the best daughter and I’m so sorry. I love you so much mom I just want you to know and I’ll never forget you.”
Anna Schroeder was arrested at the house of her father, Daryl Schroeder, on Saturday night, and reportedly confessed her involvement in the crime, including purportedly researching beforehand on other children who killed their parents. Both Anna and Rachel are currently being held at the Mary Davis Detention Home in Galesburg, Illinois as of this writing.
A report from KWQC quoted Peggy Schroeder’s friends, family, and neighbors, who expressed disbelief that the “garden-loving” Peggy’s daughter would allegedly commit such a crime. One neighbor, Jessie Harridgen, related that Anna was known for babysitting neighborhood children, including her own.
Anna’s older sister, 18-year-old Kaylene Schroeder, told KWQC that she’s been touched by tributes to her late mother, and that she’s thankful for the support her community has given her during this trying time. And while Kaylene is still shocked at her younger sister’s alleged actions, she had some harsh words for Anna, whom she described as “irrelevant” at this point in her life.
“I haven’t really thought about my sister. She’s kind of irrelevant to me right now. I’m more worried about my mom and getting things the arrangements and stuff done.”
At the moment, it’s still not clear what motivated Anna Schroeder to allegedly kill her mother. Rachel Helm has not been formally charged in her alleged role in helping conceal the murder.
[Featured Image by Supakorn Pe/Shutterstock]