Source: Mental health paperwork found at home of Miriam Carey after Capitol chase

Deceased suffered from postpartum depression

CNN News Wire | 10/10/2013, midnight
Authorities searching the home of a Connecticut woman who rammed barricades and led police on a chase near the U.S. ...
Miriam Carey

Authorities searching the home of a Connecticut woman who rammed barricades and led police on a chase near the U.S. Capitol found discharge papers from a 2012 mental health evaluation that listed prescriptions to treat schizophrenia and other mental disorders, a law enforcement source briefed on the investigation said Friday.

The woman, identified by law enforcement sources as Miriam Carey, 34, died after police shot her.

Earlier, sources said investigators found medications, but that proved later not to be accurate.

Carey’s boyfriend told police in December that she appeared to be delusional, believing that President Barack Obama had placed Stamford, Connecticut, where they lived, under lockdown and that her home was under electronic surveillance, a law enforcement source involved in the investigation said.

Thursday’s incident played out in one of the most heavily policed places in the world, temporarily locked down Congress and sparked anxiety among tourists and staffers alike.

Police say Carey rammed barricades and police cruisers—actions Washington police Chief Cathy Lanier said appeared deliberate—and sped down Pennsylvania Avenue before crashing. Two law enforcement officers were injured, and officers shot her to end the incident.

The Carey family is questioning whether shooting her was the only way to end the chase.

“We want to know if protocols were followed,” family attorney Eric Sanders said on CNN’s AC360.

Carey apparently did not have a weapon, but did have a 1-year-old girl in the car with her. The child—Carey’s daughter—survived the chaos unharmed, officials said.

The child has been taken into protective custody by the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency. She has been temporarily placed with a foster family, according an agency spokesperson.

Carey’s family has identified the woman’s body, said Beverly Fields, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Authorities who searched Carey’s apartment in Stamford found discharge papers that listed risperidone, a medication to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, a law enforcement source said. They also found paperwork listing escitalopram, an antidepressant commonly prescribed under the brand name Lexapro, according to the source.

It was not known if she was taking any of the medications, and authorities have not officially linked the incident to mental illness or any other factor.

According to Xavier Amador, a psychologist and expert in schizophrenia and other mental health disorders, it is possible the medications were prescribed for postpartum psychosis, a rare illness that usually comes on suddenly within the first four weeks after birth.

A few months after her daughter was born, Miriam Carey was diagnosed with postpartum depression with psychosis, her sister, Amy Carey-Jones, said on CNN’s “AC360.”

“There wasn’t a pattern. It was something that occurred suddenly,” Carey-Jones said. “She seemed overwhelmed. There was a lot of stress.

“There was not moments of her walking around with delusions. That was not what was going on.”

Her sister made progress with the help of counseling and medications. Carey-Jones said her sister recently told her that the doctors said she didn’t need the medication anymore.

“They tapered her off the medications, and she said she felt fine,” Carey-Jones said.