Las Vegas police say a 21-year-old woman who had been depressed since giving birth stabbed her 2-year-old son to death in a south valley home before turning the weapon on herself.
A cousin of the woman had requested police check on the woman about 8 a.m. Monday because she hadn’t left a bedroom at the home on the 8600 block of Manalang Road since Sunday night, Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said at a briefing. The boy’s grandfather was called to the home near East Pebble Road and Pollock Drive, and he kicked in the door, Spencer later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Inside, he found the boy dead and the woman suffering from apparent self-inflicted stab wounds, Spencer said.
She was transported to the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center’s trauma unit, where she was in serious condition, Spencer said.
The woman’s cousin told investigators that she had been “very depressed” and had “not been herself” since giving birth to the boy, Spencer said.
“It was just in the last couple of days apparently that condition appeared to have worsened,” Spencer said.
If the woman survives, she will face an open murder charge, Spencer said.
Police were investigating the length of time between the stabbings and their discovery Monday morning.
The boy was the woman’s only child, and it didn’t appear she had a criminal history, Spencer said.
The boy’s death marks the ninth homicide investigated by Metro this year, according to Review-Journal records.
The Clark County coroner’s office will release his identity.
A representative with a local nonprofit that supports low-income families with infants said some details of the case suggest the signs of postpartum depression were there, though Spencer said the family didn’t indicate the woman had that condition.
Symptoms manifest in different ways, Baby’s Bounty program director Tiffany Dirig said, but irritability, thoughts of harming oneself or others and changes in appetite, sleep and behavior are warning signs.
Not feeling like oneself after childbirth is also “a huge red flag,” Dirig said.
The nonprofit offers classes that teach safe-sleeping practices, baby basics and the signs of postpartum depression. The nonprofit teaches its clients that postpartum depression is common — about one in seven moms and one in 10 dads experience it — and the importance of self care, Dirig said.
Mental illness is often stigmatized, and it’s important for friends and family of new parents listen to their concerns, she said.
“We don’t talk about it enough in this country,” Dirig said.