The minister of a woman who admitted killing her baby daughter by severing the child’s arms said Wednesday that her husband seemed emotionally stable but was searching for answers and concerned about how God will judge his wife.
“He’s concerned, overall, about why this happened and what would happen to her and how does God view her right now,” said Doyle Davidson, who leads a nondenominational church in suburban Plano that Dena and John Schlosser have attended with their children.
Dena Schlosser, 35, was charged with capital murder Monday after she calmly told a 911 operator she cut off the arms of 11-month-old Margaret. Police found Schlosser, who had a history of postpartum depression and psychotic symptoms, covered in blood and holding a knife, a church hymn playing in the background.
Davidson said he talked to John Schlosser on Monday about funeral arrangements for the baby, which remain incomplete pending an autopsy.
“He’s concerned about his wife. I mean, who wouldn’t be? He asked me: ‘What is God saying now? I mean, my wife’s in jail,’” Davidson told The Associated Press. “I said ‘John, we’ll have to watch the court system and how it works out.’”
John Schlosser was seen leaving his family’s home on Monday. He did not want to speak to reporters. A message left at a contact number listed for the Schlossers in police records was not returned Wednesday.
David Haynes, a McKinney attorney appointed to represent Dena Schlosser, said he was concerned after visiting with her Wednesday with “how well she understands the situation she’s in and how much she understands what the case is about,” The Dallas Morning News reported in its Thursday editions.
Haynes said Schlosser is being held at the Collin County jail infirmary and is receiving medical care.
Davidson, who started Water of Life Church in 1980, said he believes God uses the courts to work His will. He said he told Schlosser that although the Bible instructs not to kill, God also forgives.
“God will forgive every sin and he will forgive this woman,” Davidson said. “My basic thing will be simply to pray that Dena will be brought to repentance to God and acknowledge her sin and then she’ll be free.”
Davidson said he did not have a close relationship with the Schlossers and that they had attended the church sporadically for about three years. Dena Schlosser and her daughters, ages 6 and 9, attended more often than her husband, he said.
“I’d say hello and that was about it,” the minister said.
But a friend of Schlosser’s mother, Connie Macaulay, told The AP that Macaulay opposed her daughter’s involvement in Davidson’s church, and feared her grandchildren were being exposed to a cult-like environment.
“She didn’t feel the atmosphere they were growing up in was safe and I think she was concerned the husband was too controlling,” Lore Fichtner, a 57-year-old real estate agent, said from her home in Illinois, where Macaulay lived across the street for nearly a decade.
Macaulay, who recently moved to Canada, could not be reached by telephone on Wednesday.
Fichtner said Macaulay was also concerned that her daughter and son-in-law were giving too much money to Davidson’s church and spending too many long hours at services. Macaulay, who had always been close with her daughter, traveled to Texas more than once to try and persuade her to leave Davidson’s church, Fichtner said.
“Connie contacted him to try to get him to back away from her daughter,” she said, but “Dena stuck to this preacher and her husband.”
Davidson said he remembered an unpleasant encounter with Macaulay more than a year ago but rejected notions of impropriety at the church. He said he doesn’t pass a collection plate and services generally last under two hours.
“I believe Dena and John once told me that her mother didn’t like me,” the 72-year-old minister said. “Dena’s mother came here once and, you know, she didn’t like the things I said, but that’s not unusual. I just say what’s in the Bible.”
The Schlossers’ daughters were placed in temporary custody with Texas’ Family and Protective Services earlier this week after the agency determined their father failed to protect them from their mother.
According to court records, John Schlosser told a child protection investigator that his wife referenced Bible scripture the night before the killing and said she wanted to “give her children to God.”
John Schlosser did not appear alarmed by his wife’s comment or see it as a sign that his wife would harm her child, according to a FPS affidavit.
Davidson said no one can know what Dena Schlosser meant by her comments and that they weren’t necessarily sufficient grounds to take children away from their father.
“I wouldn’t think most people would have even thought anything about it,” Davidson said. “It would mean nothing to a person unless they received an explanation from her.”