A 15-year-old girl in Illinois is accused of killing her mother with a gunshot to the face and then enlisting a friend to help her burn the evidence. Both Anna Schroeder of the town of Morrison and Rachel Helm, 15, of nearby Rock Falls, are now in police custody. Authorities believe that on the night of July 6, Schroeder waited for her mother, Peggy, 53, to return home from work. Anna then shot her mother with a .38 revolver in their living room, reports the Sauk Valley News. Morrison is located 130 miles west of Chicago, not far from the Iowa border.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Anna Wrote a Facebook Tribute to Her Mother Saying: ‘You Were My Best Friend… I Wasn’t Always the Best Daughter’
In a Facebook tribute that Anna posted on her mother’s Facebook page, the teenage suspect wrote:
I don’t even know if you can see me right now but if you can I just want you to know that 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.
Police have not been forthcoming about a motive for the heinous murder of Peggy Schroeder. The Squak Valley News reports that Rachel Helm told police that she went to Anna’s home after Anna told Rachel about the shooting. Rachel told cops that she didn’t believe Anna so the suspect texted a photo of Peggy’s bloodied body. The pair then set to work cleaning up the blood, according to authorities. The following day, the duo allegedly moved the body into Peggy’s bedroom, covering the corpse with a sheet. Despite more cleaning on July 7, they allegedly decided to burn the house down on July 8.
2. Anna & Rachel Appear to Have Been in a Lesbian Relationship Together
KWQC reports that it was police believe it was Rachel who set the fire in two rooms in the home. That same report refers to Anna’s alleged accomplice as her “girlfriend.” Under a June 11 selfie on Anna’s Facebook page, Rachel wrote, “My baby’s beautiful.” Under a March 19 photo, Rachel wrote that Anna was “not just cute so beautiful.”
The last visible post from Rachel’s Facebook page is a Meme that reads, “My mom said I could be anything. So I became a lesbian.”
KWQC reports that it was Rachel Helm who blew the whistle on the cover-up. The station says that Rachel told her mother that she and Anna had tried to clean up the blood caused by the shooting and had moved Peggy’s body. Rachel’s mother took her daughter to Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department where she confessed.
The station says that Anna was then arrested at her father’s home by the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department at around 2 a.m. on July 9. It was there that Anna apparently admitted to the crime.
3. Anna’s Older Sister Says Peggy Gave Her Children ‘A Second Chance at Life’ After Adopting Them
Anna’s older sister, Kaylene, told WQAD that her mother “gave us a second chance at life.” Kaylene said that she and Anna had been adopted by Peggy.
Kaylene spoke to the station from her mother’s garden. “This is where she spent most of her time. She enjoyed being outdoors a lot… She didn’t deserve this. She was the kindest person.”
Kaylene told Anna about her sister saying, “She`s never been known to be violent or just burst into moods like this. I don`t know what was going through her mind… just threw away her life and my mom’s.”
WQAD reports that Kaylene is going to study to become a language interpreter in college to honor her mother. Kaylene said her mother had hearing difficulties.
According to her Facebook page, Peggy was divorced and was originally from Mount Carroll, Illinois.
4. Anna Says, ‘I’m Pretty Nice if You Need Someone to Talk to’
Anna says in her Facebook bio, “I’m pretty nice if you need someone to talk to.” Of the little information that can be gleamed from the page, Anna is shown to be a normal teenager on social media, regularly posting memes and selfies with Snapchat filters. Peggy Schroeder regularly commented on Anna’s posts. In November 2016, Peggy agreed with a commenter who called Anna “very sweet and beautiful.” While in April 2016, under a photo where Anna was not smiling, Peggy wrote, “People wanna see your pretty smile.”
5. Anna Is Facing Charges of First Degree Murder While Rachel Hasn’t Been Charged With a Crime Yet
Both Anna and Rachel are being held at the Mary Davis Detention Home in Galesburg, Illinois. Anna is facing charges of first-degree murder, concealment of homicidal death and arson. Rachel Helm has not been charged with a crime at the time of writing. They will both appear in court on August 8.