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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Murder-suicide - Upset about her husband leaving the family
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: July 31, 2007
Date of birth: 1963
Victims profile: Her son Jacob Scott Wittich, 10, and her daughter Sydney Elise Wittich, 7
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Delhi Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting herself the same day

Mary Ann Wittich, upset about her husband leaving the family, drugged her children, Jacob, 10, and Sydney, 7, painted black X’as over their hearts and then shot them both twice in the chest at point blank range before killing herself.


A Delhi Township woman killed her children in a murder-suicide, police said

July 31, 2007

Hamilton County coroner O’dell Owens said that it appeared that Jacob Scott Wittich, 10, and Sydney Elise Wittich, 7, were drugged with Benadryl or a similar substance, then shot twice in the heart at point-blank range by their mother, Mary Ann Wittich.

Owens said each child had an X written with a black marker over their heart.

Owens said Mary Ann Wittich then shot herself in the heart.

Neighbors said Wittich was distraught because her husband had left the family, but said they never expected anything like this.

“My wife said it was our neighbor and I said, ‘No it can’t be.‘ I’m kind of still in shock,” said Robert Satzger. “It would be the last thing I would think anybody would do, much less them.”

Court records show John Scott filed for divorce from Mary Ann Wittich.

One of the couple’s older daughters came home to find the children and her mother dead, and Scott, who had moved to Highland Park, arrived shortly after at about 3:30 p.m. to pick up the children, authorities said.

The couple also has two adult children, Kathryn Wittich, 24, and Lindsey Wittich, 20, and had recently agreed to share custody of the two younger children.

Neighbors said they heard gunfire Tuesday afternoon, but Owens said it appeared the three died sometime Tuesday morning.

“This is probably one of the worst scenes I’ve seen. This is a very sad situation,” he said.


'Drugged and killed'

Children's deaths were carefully planned

August 2, 2007

To most, Mary Ann "Mimi" Wittich was a nurturing, loving mom and soccer coach.

In the last few hours of her life, though, she proved to be sinister, calculating, vengeful - and her children's executioner.

Hamilton County Coroner O'dell Owens detailed those conclusions Wednesday when he outlined what he believes was the precision and planning Wittich put into the deaths of her two youngest children before killing herself.

"These children were drugged and killed," Owens said.

The coroner provided chilling details on how Wittich killed her 7-year-old daughter Sydney, and son, Jacob, 10, in their Delhi Township home on Francisridge Drive.

All three bodies were found late Tuesday afternoon by Wittich's 20-year-old daughter, Lindsey.

The bodies of both children were found in their mom's bed. Wittich's body was nearby on the bedroom floor.

"To see these two children in that bed ... that is the most disturbing scene I have ever seen," Owens said.

Owens wouldn't talk specifically about the suicide note Wittich left in an envelope she placed atop a bedroom dresser.

"Oftentimes, suicides are punishment," Owens said. "You can read through the lines."

A divorce decree between Wittich, 44, and her husband, John, 44, was finalized June 7.

The couple had been married 24 years.

Owens believes Wittich gave each child heavy doses of Benadryl on Monday night and put them into bed with her.

The medicine left the children unconscious, Owens said.

On Tuesday morning, Wittich took out a small, black .25-caliber automatic handgun, Magic Marker and a stethoscope, Owens said.

A recent graduate of nursing school, Wittich first lifted her daughter's shirt, used the stethoscope to find the exact location of her heart and then drew an "X" on the little girl's chest.

That was done, Owens said, to ensure death.

"As a nurse ... she knew to shoot them in the heart when you want to kill somebody," he said.

Then, Wittich lowered the daughter's shirt, pressed the gun to the X on her daughter's skin and fired two shots.

Then, Owens believes, Wittich lifted her son's shirt, placed the gun on his chest and fired two shots into the heart. His body was found with the shirt still up.

"There was little blood," Owens said.

After that, Wittich fired one last shot - this one into her own heart.

In addition to those five bullets, the gun had two rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber.

An initial autopsy on Wittich revealed no alcohol or mind-altering drugs, Owens said. Other, more detailed tests are being done.

Owens ruled the deaths of the children homicides and Wittich's death a suicide, brought on by her recent divorce.

Tests on her hands were "very, very positive" for gunshot residue, Owens said. That means her hands were very close to a gun that had been fired.

Even though neighbors reported hearing gunshots after 5 p.m. Tuesday, based on rigor mortis and other signs from the bodies, he is sure they were killed between 7 and 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Wittich's father stopped by the house about 11 a.m. to drop something off, Owens said, and called out.

When he saw Jacob's arm hanging over the bed, he assumed the family was napping and left.

In addition to the suicide note, Owens said Wittich also recently told family members of how depressed she was and made suggestions about death.

"I was told that people said she made some comments she was going to do this," Owens said.

That upset Owens, who wondered why family members didn't take action.

"Why didn't you go and get her help then?" Owens wondered. "They've got to deal with that the rest of their lives."

The Wittiches had a fourth child, Kathryn, 25.


Mary Ann "Mimi" Beckenhaupt Wittich

She went to Wendy's to buy some chicken nuggets and fries for her two little kids, and one medium Vault energy drink.

Then, she drove home. Somebody turned on the television and tuned it to the Disney Channel. A Sony PlayStation had the game "Jake's Locker Room" playing. A bowl of popcorn sat on the family room floor.

Mary Ann "Mimi" Wittich and her children, Jacob, 10, and daughter Sydney, 7, ate lunch at the Francisridge Drive home. Soon after, she shot each of them twice in the chest, and then turned the gun on herself.

That's how, according to a report obtained by The Enquirer from the Delhi Township Police Department, Wittich ended her life and the lives of her two youngest children sometime between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on July 31.

The report – a detailed timeline, lists of evidence at the scene and phone calls made, exhaustive summaries of interviews with relatives and a friend – treats the tragedy as a double murder-suicide.

There are no suspects. There are no persons of interest.

The final ruling on the causes of death will come from the Hamilton County coroner.

Results from the coroner's toxicological tests are pending.

No suicide notes are in the report. According to Delhi Township Police Chief John "Satch" Coletta, police are still "going over some details of the notes."

During the two-week course of the investigation, many details have emerged.

Interviews with relatives and Wittich's close friend, Michael Klar, contain items that, in retrospect, might have been warning signs.

The report, Coletta said, "is what it is. In reading it, you might see some things that look like warning signs. But these are after the fact. On the surface, at the time they were said, they might not have meant anything."

Klar recalled that about a year ago, Wittich threatened to jump off the Brent Spence Bridge.

Her father, Jim Beckenhaupt, and sister, Sue Grote, noted that Wittich did not want her ex-husband, John Scott Wittich, to raise their two younger children. The Wittiches were divorced in June after several years of marital strife. The marriage began to unravel, police learned, after Scott Wittich – he goes by his middle name – discovered his wife was having an affair. The Wittiches have two older daughters, Katie, 24, and Lindsey, 20.

Days before the shootings, Mimi Wittich made calls and sent notes to family members. One call she made to her brother, Jim Beckenhaupt Jr., mentioned where, in the event of her death, money from her share of the sale of a family farm should go. Notes to her parents and siblings were, the report noted, "more of a ‘thank you for all you have done for me over the years,' than a suicide letter."

Her letter to Klar, which she wrote the day of the deaths, begins, "Michael – I love you! So sorry!"

Her surviving daughters and ex-husband noted her extreme mood swings. Her older daughters said she might have been bipolar. Police found no evidence of any specific medication Mimi Wittich was taking to treat the disorder. Katie Wittich stated that her mother "had mood swings where she would be on top of the world one day and then depressed and angry the next." The only medication she saw her take on a regular basis was "prescription-strength Ibuprofen." She "ate them like candy to treat her headaches," Katie Wittich told police.

Mimi Wittich bought a handgun on Dec. 12, 2006. Klar told police she took her first target practice at a gun club in Kentucky just four days before the deaths. Before that, he told police, he had no idea she even owned a gun.

On that last day in July, she entered her bedroom for a final time. She was a recent nursing school graduate, looking forward to taking her certification tests in a month and making plans to re-marry, the police interviews revealed.

Klar told police that on a July 23-24 Gatlinburg trip – cut short by the death of Scott Wittich's father – they "talked about getting married" and "looked at wedding rings." She told him "she would like to get married in the woods," Klar told police.

Within seconds on July 31, all of those plans were dashed. Mimi Wittich ended everything, the report states, with five, close-range shots from a small, black, .25-caliber Phoenix Arms pistol. Two shots into the chest of each child. One shot to her heart.

Both of her hands, the police report said, contained traces of gunshot residue.

Early on the day of the deaths, Klar told police, Mimi Wittich paid him an unexpected visit at his home in Crescent Springs.

She woke him up between 5:30 and 6 a.m. and, Klar said, was unusually calm.

"Mimi was like a hurricane," he told police investigators. "Either a good one or a bad one, but always a hurricane."

Klar said that when he got up to get ready for work, Wittich left.

Back in Delhi, she saw that her two older daughters started their day.

As Lindsey got ready for work, her mother stood by her bedroom door. She jokingly asked if she was "ever going to leave for work."

Lindsey left for her job at bigg's just before 10 a.m. As she left, she saw Jacob at the computer in the family room. Sydney watched him over his shoulder. He was dressed. She still wore her pajamas.

After her daughters were gone, Wittich went to the PNC Bank on Anderson Ferry Road. She deposited $10,690.69 into Klar's account. The bulk of the deposit was a transfer from her account to his.

Her next stop was Wendy's. Not once. But twice. In the span of 10 minutes.

Then she went home.

It was time for lunch. And tragedy.

Hamilton County Coroner O'dell Owens has theorized that Mimi Wittich gave her children enough Benadryl so they eventually became unconscious. She used a stethoscope to find their hearts, he said. After that, she took a Magic Marker to mark the spot with an "X."

Then, sometime that fateful day, she started pulling the trigger.

Scott Wittich called the Francisridge home at 11:28 a.m. No answer.

He was supposed to pick up the children later in the afternoon.

He called again and again throughout the day. Eight times in all. No answer.

Just after 5 p.m. he headed for the house. He drove by the tri-level with the blue wading pool out back and saw his daughter, Lindsey, opening the garage door to go inside.

Scott kept driving. He wanted to avoid seeing his former wife.

Just then, his phone rang. It was Lindsey.

"They are dead!" she cried. "Come here!"



Mary Ann "Mimi" Wittich


A Wittich family photo collage shows Mary Ann "Mimi" Wittich (center of middle photo) and her four children, Kathryn, Lindsey, Jacob and Sydney.
(The Enquirer/Gary Landers)


The victims

Jacob Scott Wittich, 10, and Sydney Elise Wittich, 7.



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