Mental evaluation is next step for woman accused of driving 2 children into Kansas River, killing 1

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Scharron R. Dingledine

A mental evaluation is the next step for a woman charged with killing one of her children and trying to kill another by driving them into the Kansas River, her attorney said.

Scharron R. Dingledine, 26, of Columbia, Mo., appeared briefly Tuesday morning for her second hearing in Douglas County District Court, via video from the jail. Her newly appointed attorney, Carol Cline, stood in person before Judge Peggy Kittel.

“What we’re going to do first is I’m going to file a motion to evaluate competency,” Cline said.

District Attorney Charles Branson didn’t object, and the judge scheduled Dingledine’s next hearing for Aug. 28, in order to allow time for an evaluation to be completed.

Kittel told Dingledine that someone would be coming to the jail to interview her.

“OK, thank you, judge,” Dingledine replied.

Dingledine was charged Monday with first-degree murder for allegedly killing her 5-year-old daughter, Amiyah Bradley, and attempted first-degree murder for allegedly trying to kill her 1-year-old son, Elijah Lake, by driving a car into the Kansas River with the children inside.

Lawrence police continue to investigate the incident, and asked in social media posts this week that anyone who had contact with Dingledine on Thursday or Friday to contact the department’s investigation division at 785-830-7430.

About 1:15 p.m. Friday, dispatch received multiple calls from people who saw the vehicle in the water, Lawrence Police Department spokeswoman Kim Murphree said this week. The car was near the south bank of the river just west of the bridge into downtown Lawrence — a grassy area at water-level, accessible only by a gravel road leading to the power plant.

Officers arrived quickly and pulled Dingledine and Elijah from the water. The toddler was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Dingledine was taken to a hospital, and later to jail.

Emergency crews including divers weren’t able to find the older child, and her body was not inside the car when it was towed out of the water Friday night.

Amiyah’s body was recovered from the river Saturday morning.

Elijah remained in intensive care at a Kansas City area hospital Monday night, his father told the Journal-World, though he declined to speak more about Dingledine or the incident.

Amiyah’s father told the newspaper that he had not seen his daughter in about a year and a half, and that she and her mother had been living with the father of the 1-year-old. He said Dingledine had a history of depression before they broke up and that her worsening state had made him concerned for Amiyah’s safety.

At Dingledine’s first appearance in court on Monday, Branson said the state considered her a danger to herself and the public. He said she had no known ties to Lawrence or Kansas.

Dingledine is being held on $1 million bond.

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Emergency responders are shown on the banks of the Kansas River during a water rescue on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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