A Pennsylvania woman is accused of gathering her four children into a van, driving to a creek and trying to drown them, according to State Police.
The mother, 32, believed her children were "possessed," and to save them, they needed to be "baptized," according to a criminal complaint obtained by WHTM.
Pennsylvania State Police began looking for McElwee and her kids in Middle Paxton Township, on the morning of Sept. 6, the station reported.
A resident saw the family walking down a road around 3 a.m. and the woman explained that she had run out of gas, though many other things she said made little sense to the Good Samaritan, WHTM reported.
Hours later, police received a call from the woman's boyfriend and he had alarming news, WPMT reported. . She and the kids apparently disappeared two days earlier and he hadn't seen them since.
Police learned the woman could be suffering from mental health problems and possibly using methamphetamine, WHTM reported.
Officers found the woman and her children in the afternoon, thanks to a call from a homeowner in North Middleton Township, WPMT reported.
Investigators spoke with the kids, ages 3, 7, 10 and 12, who said they had been riding around with their mom for several days, the station reported. She kept seeing people who were part man and part animal and she told her kids they were "the only true Christians."
At the creek on the morning of Sept. 6, she forced one child's head under the surface, yelling that they would all die, before letting them go. She went farther with a second child, a girl, holding her head underwater until she went still.
The woman ordered her kids to dig a hole for the girl, to bury her so that she could come back to life, WPMT reported. She wanted all of them to be "resurrected" in this way.
As they piled rocks onto the girl, the homeowner who called police came over and stopped them.
McElwee is facing two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault of a victim younger than 13, and four counts of endangering welfare of children, court records filed on Sept. 29 show.
She was booked into the Dauphin County Prison and her bond is set at $750,000.
McClatchy News is not naming the mother to protect the childrens' identities.
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