COUNCIL BLUFFS — Charlotte Schilling strangled her 10-year-old son with a plastic zip tie, then killed herself, Council Bluffs police said Monday.
Schilling, 41, of Plattsmouth, Neb., used a separate zip tie to strangle herself after killing her son Owen, authorities said.
No suicide note has been found.
The Schillings' bodies were found May 20 south of Lake Manawa near the Missouri River. The two had been missing since May 10. They were buried last week.
Sgt. Chad Meyers of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Council Bluffs Police said Charlotte Schilling had attempted suicide last November. She used a zip tie in that incident as well, but a family member was able to intervene.
Plastic zip ties are commonly used to secure and fasten items, such as wires. Once fastened, they lock and cannot be loosened, Meyers said. They can only be cut, such as with scissors or a knife.
Meyers said investigators have theories as to why Schilling killed her son, but they are not discussing them at this time.
Friends and associates told investigators Schilling's recent actions were consistent with someone planning a suicide.
The mother and son were last seen when Schilling picked up Owen from Bellevue's Wake Robin Elementary School, where he was in the fifth grade. Video later captured them at a nearby convenience store.
Police found Schilling's late-model Chevrolet Malibu at Lake Manawa on May 11, a day after the pair disappeared.
Neighbors of the Schillings have described Owen as a typical 10-year-old boy who loved walking his two pug dogs, bouncing on trampolines and riding a tire swing.
Chad Nation with World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.
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