Kelsey (from left to right), her father and Kiersten


Chris Hawes reports

Related links:
Search Video:

HILLSBORO - A mother admitted to slashing both of her daughters' throats less than four hours after picking them up for visitation, authorities said.

Investigators said they believe that Debra Janelle Jeter brought her 12 and 13-year-old daughters to an abandoned home with the intentions of killing them Friday night. After slitting both of their throats, Jeter called 911 and said she had "just killed her children," authorities said.

The 12-year-old, Kelsey, was found dead inside the house, and her 13-year-old sister, Kiersten, was found injured in a bedroom.

Now, details have arisen that reveal there were warning signs dating back years ago. Just a couple weeks before the fatal attack, the girls' father told a judge that he was worried about what she might do to the children.

On her MySpace Thursday, Kiersten had proudly written "I GET TO SEE MY MOM TOMMORROW!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!"

"[The mom] had told the father that she had a surprise for them and was taking them out," said Sheriff Jeffrey Lyon, Hill County Sheriff's Department.

But, the father was worried about his daughters. Two weeks earlier, Jeter had tried to kill herself in front of the girls.

"There was a fire truck and ambulance down there, and they said she had taken some pills," said Steve Raulston, a neighbor.

According to court documents, she was sent to a mental health hospital temporarily. Her husband asked for custody of the children.

However, it wasn't the first time there were problems. In 2004, investigators concluded that Jeter physically abused Kiersten, but closed the case after she got mental health help.

Kiersten's MySpace page revealed she was looking forward to her visit with her mother.

Still, Jeter was granted a court-ordered visit Friday.

"The father had custody up until Friday at 6 p.m.," Lyon said.

Authorities said Jeter picked up the girls, and for reasons investigators said she has still not explained, took them to a vacant home and slit both of their throats.

"We're beside ourselves," Lyon said. "The biggest question is, 'Why?'"

Jeter remains in the Hill County Jail with any bond set.

Kiersten's aunt said the girl is doing well. The family said they are grateful for the support they have been given and the donations that have been made at the Citizens National Bank.


Read or Share this story: