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Apr 30, 2013

Mental state of mother who killed 3 is questioned

This morning, Felicia Chen was escorted back to the Court by police from the Queen Street Police Station. Her face was covered to protect her from the glare of the cameras and she did not have a change of clothes since her arraignment on Monday. Chen is reportedly suffering chronic depression and is under observation. Earlier today, the Director of Public Prosecutions looked at the legal issues of the case while leading psychiatrist and mental health nurse conducted an evaluation of Chen’s current state of mind. The three spoke to News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A psychiatric evaluation to determine the existing state of mind of twenty-two-year-old Felicia Chen, accused of intentionally drowning three of her four children at Belizean Beach on Saturday, was conducted this morning.  The assessment was not to establish the mother’s disposition at the time of the incident; rather, it was to arrive at a decision whether she should be remanded to the Belize Central Prison or committed to an asylum for treatment.  On the panel is Eleanor Bennett, nursing administrator for mental health.


Eleanor Bennett

Eleanor Bennett, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

“There’s an interface between the mental health services and legal services, as it relates to cases such as these.  We are very clear on what the role of the mental health services are and those roles are pretty much to provide a psychiatric or psychological assessment and to explain what those findings are.  When it comes to determination of things like insanity or unsoundness of mind or fitness to stand trial those are legal terminologies or those are legal responsibilities.”


In the wake of the inconceivable triple murders involving four-year-old Triana Teul, three-year-old Thomas Teul and one-year old Trinaya Teul, major concerns have been raised about the mother’s mental condition.  Preliminary indications are that she is suffering from Chronic Clinical Depression and is in urgent need of therapy.  According to Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, the procedure that was followed is in compliance with the Medical Service and Institutions Act.


But while rehabilitation is being sought for Felicia Chen, psychoanalysis and therapy should also be afforded to her six year old daughter, who witnessed the grisly act in its entirety.


Elma Augustine

Dr. Elma Augustine, Clinical Psychologist

“We need to make sure that this child is seen by somebody who has experience in the impact of trauma and [someone] who is also familiar with working with children.  This child, we need to get an understanding from her because of her young age, as to what are her concerns, what are her worries, how she perceives things and to help her manage that.  We also have to help her manage the impact of the trauma.  When people have been traumatized, especially kids, you will find a variety of symptoms that will impact them; not being able to sleep, maybe crying, flashbacks of what happened.  So there are all these stuff that this young person might be juggling or most likely is juggling that they will need support in managing.”


The shock of what has transpired is resounding, not only affecting the immediate family but also the first responder, who recounted details of the harrowing discovery, as well as the professional staff, who conducted the evaluation this morning.


Elma Augustine

“This is such a horrific tragedy and the first response, of course, is how did somebody get to this level.  So that’s kinda hard for people, we’re traumatized too, to some extent.  They call it vicarious trauma, we’re not the family or the kid but we are traumatized by this event and I guess that’s why all these issues keep coming up as to, you know, how it should be managed or handled. We also have to get an idea of what family support exists and it’s going to be very essential that the adults that are now in this child’s life, what they are saying to this child, their perception of things and how they are managing and handling it.  So I’m hoping that a collateral should be along with intervention for the child.  Some also supportive and, how would you say it, guidance and direction as to how they can be more helpful in what they do and how they manage this for the family too.  And also, of course, the family will be struggling with the issue of bereavement and loss and all this uproar going through too.”


As it stands, Felicia Chen, who has been arraigned on three counts of murder, will remain under suicide watch for the next fourteen days, after which a secondary examination will be conducted.  Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


The three children are said to have drown in the shallow waters of Belizean Beach. The results of a post mortem have been released by Doctor Mario Estradabran who certifies the cause of death as immersion syndrome, which was also the cause of death in the case of Crecencio Mai whose body was found in a shallow pond on the Old Northern Road. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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9 Responses for “Mental state of mother who killed 3 is questioned”

  1. kar1980 says:

    This young lady doesnt need no psychiatric evaluation; what she need is to be hung but not now. Put her 20 years in prison and give her a date on she which she will be heng. Not even a !@#$% kill her puppies.

  2. ceo says:

    One bad decision begets another!

    This is just one big sorry story!

    Eventhough I understand that someone can be mentally ill. I can also understand pospartum blues nonetheless it is very difficult for me to understand how she can get a bus from Ladyville to Belize City then hop another bus to Belizean Beach, walk back to the sea and drown her children on at a time! How can one lead her children like lambs to the slaughter?

    She used a permanent solution for a temporary problem!

  3. Storm says:

    I hope there is not too great a rush to excuse the mother’s monstrous act, because the dead babies still deserve justice. I believe in equal rights between the sexes, “gender equality,” and that means equal punishment for equal crimes.

    For now, put her on suicide watch so she cannot kill herself. Let the babies get buried before there is a rush to acquit their killer.

    This case may underscore how badly we lack adequate mental health services in most towns and villages, and maybe the need for emergency shelters for mothers under severe stress. Those comments sound like “first world dreams,” perhaps, but we can and should expect more from our government — if it prioritized how it spends our money better, maybe some tragedies could be averted. I’d rather see a mental health center opened than the ministers and their families driving new SUVs, for example.

  4. Simone says:

    Put her out of her misery

  5. kar 1979 says:

    i don’t think that kar1980 has a heart or any understanding of this situation, everyone has a problem or drama in there life. i don’t think u should have any say in this, who r u to say what to do with this lady or the situation.

  6. bzeyouth says:

    I really differ from you Kar1980. This young lady needs to be evaluated. There is a cause and effect. We must understand why she decided to take the lives of her children. Once we understand then we can prevent cases in the future. Her current and future punishment is carrying the guild of her actions. A prison sentence will not rehabilitate her or would be any more of a punishment than her guilt.
    This should not be looked upon as an odd incident but as an eye opener for possible anxiety caused by the current living conditions the current government has put Belize in.

  7. MadDOG says:

    any woman who speak , flawless… about kill her hang her is a stress free mother , not having lived a life of being a woman. any mother can tell u that being a woman with children, a battered family , of pressure on all sides… tell me… don’t judge, lets not use mental this and that .. but she was lost…. and 1. the husband. the mother of her, and then her suffering of not having time to think for a way how to survive. Some of use ( Bust our A,,,, to life, some women prostitute to bring food to the table all kinds of event… look around help one women to another … u can see it in there face… let me tell u a story a woman with 2 babies by a shop were asking any person for a dollar. i saw her studied her for like 5 min.. my friends were at the shop i looked in to my purse and took out some money asked my friends to give me any thing they could contribute.. they gave me i walked to her open her hand and gave the money , she looked at me and said how i knew. i knew a face that needed help she is a mother . she had enough to buy milk and food and for her to eat… we can be angels so dont judge live to save life..

  8. Me says:

    kar1980, no WOMAN who was in her right mind would kill her own kids…mothers fight against all to protect their children….you were NOT in this woman’s shoes to even know what she is dealing with, and instead of throwing her away, she needs treatment, so that we can learn what went wrong, so we can PREVENT it from happening again. Never be too quick to judge anyone, no one asked you to be god.

  9. el30 says:

    come on with all this fuss. we all know that a man should demonstrate he is a man by taking his responsibilities. this woman is not the only one to blame if she had her husband working for the children at her side things could have been different. the so called ex-husband need to take responsibility for the death of these innocent children also.

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