MEDFORD (WAOW) - A Rib Lake mother accused of trying to kill herself and four of her children because the family was breaking up in a divorce was ordered to spend 25 years in a mental institution Monday.
Heidi Mann, 37, pleaded no contest to four counts of attempted first-degree homicide of her children raging in age from 3 to 11, and Taylor County Circuit Judge Ann Knox-Bauer found her not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect based on doctor's reports, ordering her to a mental hospital instead of a prison.
Mann had entered insanity pleas to the charges in July.
According to the criminal complaint, Mann told investigators she loaded the children into a sports utility vehicle parked in a garage at her home March 8 and planned on poisoning them and herself by starting the vehicle and filling the garage with carbon monoxide.
"Heidi made the comment that she just wanted to die and be in heaven with her four youngest children," the complaint said. The children were not harmed in the incident, police said.
Police became aware of the incident in the garage from a report from a psychiatric facility associated with St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Appleton, the complaint said. Doctors there learned of the incident June 7.
Knox-Bauer said Monday that Mann was in a state of depression when she tried to harm her children.
During Monday's plea hearing, friends and relatives testified that trying to harm her children was out of character for Mann. She was described as a good mother who tried to help the community.