Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Guess Who’s Working at Walmart?

In 2004, Texas mom Dena Schlosser called 911 and said, “I cut her arms off.” She was talking about her 10-month-old daughter Margaret, whose arms she amputated with knife during a religious frenzy. When police got to Schlosser’s Plano home, the woman was covered in blood and singing Christian hymns. Baby Margaret died the next day.

Schlosser, diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006 and confined in a mental institution. Two years later she was released on an outpatient basis, institutionalized again in 2010 and then released once more after psychiatrists determined that she is not a risk.

Over the weekend, a shopper at Walmart in Terrell spotted Schlosser working the cash register and took a photo. The news of Schlosser’s employment spread, causing worry and outrage throughout the community. Hired in June, Schlosser, who now goes by Laettner is now out of a job.

“All associates must pass a criminal background check as a condition of employment,” said a Walmart spokesman. “If a charge does not result in a conviction, then we have no way of knowing an applicant’s previous criminal charges.”

Last year, Paula Baniszewski (now Pace) was outed after working, quietly and without incident, at a school district in Iowa for 14 years. Like Schlosser, Paula had committed a heinous crime. Goaded by her mother, she helped torture to death Sylvia Likens, a young girl staying with her family.

If the justice system is finished with Schlosser and Baniszewski, is it up to the public to ensure that they are restricted in their ability to live modest lives? Both women were able to get jobs despite their histories, and both were fired due to public outcry. Besides remaining under the radar, it is unclear what course of action is available to these pariahs.

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