Mentally ill woman killed mother with crossbow, kept body in house for days: Cops

A woman with a history of mental illness has been charged with killing her mother with a crossbow and hiding the body under a rug for days, the Morning Call reports.

Authorities say Lisa Caplan, 51, murdered her 71-year-old mother, Sandra Barndt, at a duplex in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday.

Caplan allegedly shot her mom in the neck, reloaded the crossbow, shot her again in the face and then went to sleep.

Investigators believe Caplan lived with the dead body for two days, according to police reports.

An officer discovered Barndt’s body after family members grew concerned that they could not contact her and asked police to check if she was OK.

A Palmerton officer found the body on the floor of the home underneath a blanket with at least one arrow in her face or neck. Blood had pooled beneath the blanket, the Times News reports.

Caplan told police that her mother attacked her. But a woman who lives next to the duplex and shares a wall with Barndt’s said the mother and her daughter were generally quiet and that she could not remember any loud arguments between the two.

Jon Ostroff, an attorney for Caplan, said she has chronic schizophrenia and he wants her to undergo an immediate psychiatric assessment.

Caplan was recently released from psychiatric care, according to Ostroff, who said his client is “unable to comprehend what she has been charged with doing.”

He blamed the death on what he called a “broken mental health system.”

“For decades, Ms. Caplan has been in and out of mental health facilities,” Ostroff said in a statement. “Throughout this time, she has been a danger to herself and her family. During these years, it has been her family’s long-standing position that she should remain under the care and close watch of mental health professionals who are trained to properly treat and control her. Due to the failure of the mental health system, she was recently released from a psychiatric institution once again.”

Caplan has been charged with homicide and aggravated assault and is being held without bail in the Carbon County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 11.

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