Plano Mom Who Cut Her Baby’s Arms Off is Fired by Terrell Wal-Mart

You likely remember the horrific case of Dena Schlosser, the Plano mother who in 2004 cut the arms off her baby. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Anyway, in June she got a job at the Wal-Mart in Terrell. They’d run a criminal background check on her, but since she’d never been convicted of a crime (and was using a different surname now), nothing turned up. Until those muckrakers at WFAA were contacted by a concerned viewer who’d recognized Schlosser:

“For her to be in the hospital for such a short time, and then have the freedom that you and I enjoy, after what she did, I think is a shame and there should be an outcry from the public,” said Natalie Elmoghrabi, a former Terrell resident who was in town for the day.

After the TV station came calling, Wal-Mart fired Schlosser.

What this woman did was awful, just awful. But psychiatrists have declared her not to be a risk, and she’s been released on an outpatient status under which she must apparently live within strict guidelines. Doesn’t she deserve a chance to have a job to support herself? Or do we only support rehabilitation and redemption so long as it’s not occurring at our own neighborhood market?


  • LL

    At the rate we continue to incarcerate people, we need to start thinking about what they will do when they are released. We have one of the highest prison rates in the world and we are going bankrupt keeping people in prison. We can’t keep them there forever so we need to provide training and rehabilitation and let the hold jobs — because if they can’t they will have no choice but to reoffend.

    Must be sweeps time — the TV stations go out looking for these supposedly horrible things — like a janitor who has been on the job for 15 years without problem but has a record. And after TV is done — he doesn’t have a job and will probably have to add to his record to survive.

  • Paul Kix wrote a fine story for us in 2006 about the conditions that led Schlosser to her horrific act:

  • Bethany Anderson

    Last night, I said much the same thing. But I think it also kind of reveals how people view post partum psychosis, and mental illness in general. Deanna Schlosser was a deeply disturbed, gravely ill individual whose only form of “help” in the days leading up to the slaying was a preacher who said she had a demon (and, possibly, something that figured into her mindset that day). If someone had taken her to her OB, she would’ve recognized the issue for what it was and helped her get treatment. If she had been taken to a psychiatric facility, she also would’ve received treatment.
    This baby did not have to die.
    But now a judge and her doctors have deemed her able to work. That, my friends, is a victory. It means she’s on the path to being a productive member of society. Would I want her taking care of children? No. But running my toilet paper over a scanner in a checkout lane? Sure. I’m fine with that.
    She is not a bogeyman that will leap over the conveyor belt and cut your arms off. She is a woman with a managed illness, who is getting the opportunity to right herself.
    And she’s not going entirely unpunished. When her husband divorced her, she lost the right to contact or be near her remaining two children. And, well, people also rat her out to TV stations and get her fired from her jobs.

  • Susan Hammerschmidt

    This lady has a lifetime sentence of living with what she did. Why not allow her to be a productive member of society? I wouldn’t have a problem with her checking out my groceries. My hope is that she will find some small measure of peace by maintaining her health and by finding a place where she can gain some measure of satisfaction in earning her own way.

  • Why am I not surprised that gotcha media and Walmart management define synergy?

  • LL

    And the ones who got off scott free are the husband and the preacher.

  • lm

    I don’t think she poses a threat of any kind working as a cashier, and I would like to believe that I would be willing to hire her if I owned a store. But I’m not sure I would have the nerve to do it.

  • Kk

    I’d be fine with her checking out my groceries, or doing any number of jobs in the public sector other than working directly with children. What I find appalling is that her ex husband would be allowed to have custody of the children. That’s horrific.

  • EE

    I wonder if she understands why she was let go? Even those that are charged with involuntary manslaughter serve their time but still have a criminal record. That’s great that she has improved, but I would think the state could find a better option for her. The first time the state thought she was ready to be out in the public she was found roaming the streets in Richardson. This horrific situation is obviously still too recent for people to forget it or her.

  • That Kix story just knocked the air out of me. Damn.

  • JE

    “Or do we only support rehabilitation and redemption …”

    Assumes facts not in evidence – I would have been okay letting her rot in prison

  • Taylor

    If she was declared fit to be released and is out trying to make a living and earning a paycheck, why is it our business? Personally, I would have loved to see her imprisoned for the rest of her life, but at least she’s not living on welfare checks and our tax dollars.

  • Jason…I wish you had not asked the questions you asked. My immediate reaction to your piece was the same as that of JE’s. Let her rot in prison. Hell, as far as I’m concern, it takes a crazy person to take a human life. Even people who commit murder for money. I figure that they’ve got to be even more insane that those who kill out of momentary passion.
    But, on the other hand, doesn’t she deserve the right to reclaim her life after committing an act the doctors say she could not keep herself from doing?
    Perhaps the discussion should not be about punishment versus redemption. Perhaps it should be about protecting the innocent from those who couldn’t (or can’t) help themselves from harming the innocent. After all, medicine is not an always-right science. That’s why the doc’s call their business a “practice.”
    Perhaps locking them away for the remainder of their lives…not as punishment, but for protection…is the right answer. It sure as hell is a more rational answer than to legally murder them to teach “us all” a lesson.
    In short, it beats the hell out of me.

  • Logan

    I think she should have been sentenced to life in prison, but she wasn’t. Now that the justice system has decided that she is not a risk, she has to have a way to support herself. As long as she isn’t working with children, i don’t see why people would have a problem with her working.