Charlotte Schilling killed her son, then killed herself. Her family speaks out about the tragedy that changed their lives forever.
Charlotte's sister, Amy Hayes Preucil says, "They gave us the cause of death and we all gasp."
Amy is mourning her sister, Charlotte, and her 10-year-old nephew Owen. Their bodies were found near Lake Manawa eleven days after they went missing.
"That Sunday night was very difficult. That was the worst of the worst of the worst news had come through." said Amy.
Police say Charlotte strangled Owen with a zip tie, before doing the same thing to herself.
Amy says, "The FBI did say Owen would have been out in a matter of six to eight seconds."
Amy says Charlotte had a long history of mental illness. She had tried to committ suicide four times before, the latest attempt in November.
"She had tried to take her own life in the exact same way." said Amy.
Amy says Charlotte had been getting help for years, bouncing around from therapist to therapist.
"In the last year it had gotten severe, in the last few months, bizarre." said Amy.
The family says, despite this, they had no reason to think she would hurt her children.
"She's very protective of Owen. She just left him for the first time in April, I mean the child's 10-years-old." said Amy.
Charlotte picked up Owen from Wake Robbins Elementary. She had been to Kohls where she bought Owen new clothes.
He was seen wearing those clothes as he and his mom picked up snacks from a convenience store.
That same day, Charlotte drove Owen to the area near Lake Manawa and killed him.
"I feel like this is something she had been planning for months." said Amy.
Amy says Charlotte had also called her husband right before the tragedy happened. They were not having marital problems, despite some reports out there.
"There was no divorce. She and Carl just went on a trip and she had beautiful photos from it." said Amy.
Now, the family is just trying to get through this. They have no idea why Charlotte did this. They say there were no "red flags" she would hurt her child.
"The only explanation was she wasn't in her right mind because she never would have hurt that child." said Amy.
The family plans to hold a fundraiser in June. They want to donate to other groups that handle mental illness.