SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The grandmother of two children shot by their mother inside a Texas welfare office said Wednesday her former daughter-in-law had a history of mental problems leading up to the standoff in a state building where the struggling family had been denied food stamps.

One of the children, 12-year-old Ramie Grimmer, died Wednesday night at a San Antonio hospital, Laredo police spokesman Joe Baeza said. The girl’s brother, 10, remained in critical condition.

Ramie appeared to post a chilling update on Facebook while her mother squared off with police Monday at a Laredo welfare office. Her profile was updated to read “may die 2day” just hours before authorities say her mother shot the girl and her brother, then killed herself to end the seven-hour standoff.

The family had moved this summer to the border city, where they lived in a rundown trailer. The state denied Grimmer’s application for food stamps in August, but Mary Lee Shepherd said her grandchildren’s mother had problems beyond trying to feed her family.

“My son knew she was mentally ill and tried to get her help,” said Shepherd, who lives in Helena, Mont.

Shepherd said her son Dale Grimmer, the children’s father, was flying Wednesday from Montana to San Antonio hospital to be with the children.

Dale and Rachelle Grimmer divorced six or seven years ago, after Rachelle and the children moved from Montana to Ohio, Shepherd said. Dale Grimmer also moved to Ohio and was able to visit the children from time to time, but Rachelle Grimmer moved and did not inform him or the court, Shepherd said.

Shepherd said she or her son contacted social workers in Montana twice and in Ohio once because they were concerned that Rachelle Grimmer could harm the children. Shepherd declined to detail her former daughter-in-law’s mental problems or say what caused them to make those calls.

Shepherd’s claims could not immediately be verified Wednesday with state child welfare officials in Montana and Ohio. However, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services reported finding two cases Wednesday involving Grimmer and her children.

In the first case, reported Sept. 15, 2010, the department received a possible neglect report after Rachelle Grimmer and her two children were found living in a tent on a South Texas beach. Investigators found no evidence of neglect and closed the case, spokesman Patrick Crimmins said.

In a report made last June, Corpus Christi police said Rachelle Grimmer had come to police headquarters with her two children and reported that she had been a domestic violence victim. Caseworkers checked on her and the children, determined the children were not at risk and took no further action, Crimmins said.

The findings had been delayed until Wednesday because Grimmer’s surname had been spelled differently in the department database, and she was listed under a different first name, Crimmins said.

Rachelle Grimmer, 38, was found dead inside the building later that night, along with her two wounded children. She arrived around 5 p.m. and asked to speak to a caseworker about her rejected food stamps application. Officials said Grimmer was taken to a private room, where she then pulled out a gun.

About two dozen people inside the building were let go unharmed. Grimmer rattled off a litany of complaints against government agencies during the negotiations with police, Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza said.

The state rejected Grimmer’s request for food stamps because her application was incomplete, said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. She described Grimmer’s contact with the state as sporadic, including the mother not following up about her denied benefits until more than three months had passed.

Shepherd said the standoff and shooting never should have happened, but that she hopes this case will result in people treating such intervention requests more seriously.

“They should have gave her the food stamps and followed up and then got the children out of there,” Shepherd said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, and my son is terribly distraught, but you know, something good can come out of this where somebody will start listening.

Goodman said an agency supervisor tried calling Grimmer on her cellphone five days before the shooting, but no one answered and the voicemail box was full.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (52)
  1. bugmenot says:

    Facebook does not allow 12 year olds to register.

    1. Chris says:

      You can say you are as old as you want, there is no way for them to check.

  2. John Waynesworld says:

    If they were dirt poor and living in a tent or hubble, what mechanism did she use to leave the message?

    1. Taxed_N_Spent says:

      My thoughts exactly.

    2. Leslie says:

      easy access at school or a public library. I have a prepaid tracphone I pay no more than $10 a month for. I can post a message to facebook if I need to. I don’t. But I can.

  3. Sgt. Schultz says:

    What does Facebook have to do with anything? Why is the Facebook logo run up the flagpole at the top of this article, in an attempt to blame Facebook for this? Just like the “Craiglist Killer” the media tried to blame Craigslist?

    “Journalists” these days are complete morons.

    1. truth detector says:

      yeah, well here’s an idea, maybe the AP could have, (GASP!) shown a photo of the PERSON THAT DID THE SHOOTING?

      Oh wait that would not be p/c, so instead blame an evil corporation instead!

      1. len says:

        she was white, just like your mammy.

      2. Quig says:

        What’s your point? Oh, never mind!

  4. Sam Houston says:

    Why didn’t she take the money she used to get the gun to buy food for the kids?

    1. Kimberly says:

      OK who said she JUST bought the gun? How do you know she did not have this gun for awhile. 2nd she had issues lots of issues Mentally desturbed people do not THINK rationally. Like to buy food in stead of a gun. That is if she had just bought the gun. Just a very sad story. But I’ll bet if she was an illigal she would have gotten the food stamps ASAP even with the incomplete application.

  5. formermichigander says:

    “Ramie appeared to post a chilling update on Facebook while her mother squared off with police Monday at a Laredo welfare office”

    It sounds like the posting was made to Facebook while at the welfare office – did the 12 yr old have wireless connectivity? If so, where did the money to pay for that come from? Seems like paying for food would have been a better use for the money – I’m just saying.

    1. ziegler says:

      free cellphone provided by Obama program. Free wireless at the food stamp office.

      1. Jedd says:

        “Free” my butt — we (taxpayers) pay for everything. We pay for our lives and we pay for the lives of (mostly) stupid and (mostly) worthless people who would rather scam the system than work (or are just too lazy). For the most part, poor people are poor because they make poor decisions.

        Odrama wants to punish achievement and reward failure. When people feel dependent they lose their self-worth.

        This woman was clearly disturbed, needed (and should have gotten) help (and her children removed from the home).

  6. starrynight says:

    An investigaton must be conducted to determine whether the family was improperly denied benefits.

    1. Patrick says:

      The article says that the killer did not complete the application. What now? Should we hire “application completers” to satisfy the liberal loos looking to place blame?

      A tragic story about a mentally ill person. End of story.

  7. Jason Wu says:

    This is obviously Facebook’s fault. Facebook should have face-recognized the girl’s picture and alerted the FBI, where its servers are located. Instead they loaded the comment onto the kid’s timeline.

  8. John says:

    poor people sure do have a lot of expensive guns and technologies. can’t buy food though. yep. priorities.

  9. Brian says:

    An issue left completely unexplored in this article is why was custody granted to the mentally ill mother in the divorce proceedings? The father moved to Ohio to be able to visit his children, so I’m inclined to assume that he did fight for custody. Unfortunately, divorce courts are usually tilted in favor of the mother with little regard for the welfare of the children.

    1. Patrick says:

      You hit the nail on the head. It took me almost 2 years to gain custody of my three boys from their bi-polar mother. The judges in my case just ignored the evidence.

      15 years later my boys visit their mother (as adults) and are grateful that I would not give up the fight for their well being. It is sad about their mother but it is a fact of life.

      1. John says:

        I am in a similar situation, I have a Bi-polar ex wife who is capable of just about anything during one of her rages… the courts give her custody.. fighting for 2 years for my 3 boys.

      2. Chris Edens says:

        Thank you both for fighting for what is best for your children. I agree the courts usually gives the father the “short end of the stick” regardless of the ability of the mother to properly care for the children. I’ve seen first hand the ridiculous decisions that have put children in harms way simply because they have some backwards idea that the children are better off with the mother no matter her situation. Sexism/prejudice and P.C. ignorance is alive and well in far too many custody hearings.

        I hope the judge that left these kids with their mentally ill mother feels some guilt and responsibility over this. I know I would not be able to live with myself.

  10. Deiter says:

    I was twelve once.

    1. Tman says:

      Brilliant comment. I’ll bet you’re now thirteen with an IQ of six.

  11. bob peters says:

    Looking for food stamps but has money for a cell phone with a data plan. Typical.

    1. John says:

      and i doubt that was the only smartphone with a data plan in the house. they probably had a wide-screen high def TV too.

  12. John says:

    this story was written yesterday morning. the boy has since passed too. sad, sad stuff.

  13. Facebook Life'nDeath says:

    Instead of posting on Facebook, I think I might have used that opportunity to get myself and my brother away from my homicidal freak-mom.

    But that’s just me…

  14. Mark says:

    This is not about foodstamps or careless spending.

    This is about the destruction of the American family.

    It is about the destructiveness of divorce.

    It is about people reaching the end of their rope and the rest of us callousley ponitficating about financial responsibility to people that have few options.

    Forgive us Lord for we are prideful fools!

    1. MARKisCLUELESS says:

      No, it’s about a crazy women that killed her kids.

      I was glad that my parents got a divorce. My mother and father were both happier people being a part. It wasn’t perfect at first but it worked itself out. I would have been worse off had the stayed together as a disfunction family. What are you teaching a child by staying together?

      Lord forgive Mark as he knows not what he says.

    2. Jeff says:

      Destructiveness of divorce?! You’ve got to be kidding. That woman didn’t go psycho because she got a divorce. They may well have divorced because she was psycho. It’s too bad family law courts are too thick to understand that. She never should have had custody, but apparently to some judges, “best interests of the children” is code for “give the mother whatever she wants.”

  15. jon says:

    an average of 3 to 4 children die per week at the hands of their mothers in this country

    1. Katrinka Yobotz says:

      And that’s not counting abortions. If they could have killed them in the womb, how can we expect respect for life later?

  16. Edgar Friendly says:

    We live in a society where the family unit has broken down and no one wants to get involved, as you are demonized for getting involved, or sued at the least.
    Doesn’t matter now who did nothing or could have done something…
    Two innocent children are dead.
    Perhaps though they now know real peace and security and real love.

    May God have mercy on our sick, twisted, confused world.

    1. Andy B. says:

      Well said Edgar. Without a solid absolute truth to base our decisions on, we have allowed our minds to wander and accept whatever feels good. America today is the result.

  17. charles says:

    So she had a cell phone and mobile plan to update her facebook status but the taxpayer is supposed to buy her food? I feel bad for the kids. But if you have such luxuries you should be denied food stamps. If you want luxuries, get a job and pay for them yourself.

  18. Sealclubber says:

    This is obviously Bush’s fault.

  19. Eric R. says:

    Wow, an article about a mentally disturbed woman killing her children, and people are asking why they have internet access while requesting food stamps?

    I’d say if the article weren’t about an insane woman, I’d say that foregoing internet access is a terrible idea for anyone who *wants* to make more money, so chastising them for having the internet is the equivalent of saying, “you’re poor now so you better stay that way!”

  20. From Laredo says:

    Im in laredo.

    The children used the computer in the office to post on facebook. The mother used the computer in the office to monitor the local news coverage of the hostage situation.

    The local police unsuccessfully used hostage negotiators to try to get the children out. They should consider a career change. I frankly do not care about the mother, but the children should have been a priority.

    The mother took the state employee hostage for several hours. she let him go that evening.

    The kids were supposedly home schooled. The state gives computers to home schooled children.

    I feel so terrible that the children suffered in the hospital fighting for their lives.

    In Laredo there are churches, supermarkets, city offices, and general good people who help out families in need. Care could have been given to the children. This was not a last option for the mother.

  21. 'Nother-Son-O'-Ursus says:

    Re: “…(the late) Ms. Ramie Grimmer appeared to post a chilling update on Facebook while her mother squared off with police Monday at a Laredo welfare office…”
    I’m ever-so-glad to read of how terribly this woman & her children were
    For a few hundredths-to-thousandths, of-a-percent-of-the-price of a typical-adult-war-toy, (such as one of the 7-8,000 ‘M-1a2 Abrams’, {$6-8 million each}, in the U.S. inventory), a social-services agency could have funded the trained staff to prevent this, and/or, the food-stamp-agency could have extended food stamps to this woman & her childrenfor a few more…’femptoseconds’…

    BTW: A ‘femptosecond’ is allegedly the smallest-yet designated time-measurement-unit.
    It is described as a ‘billionth-of-a-trillionth-of-a-billionth’ of a second.
    It has sinister purpose, being used in ‘thermonuclear-warhead’ explosion-modeling, among other ‘scientific’ uses…

    Aren’t we proud of how we SPENT a trillion tax-dollars & MURDERED a further 6,300 U.S. CITIZENS, (on top of the 3,000 killed in NYC/D.C.), to punish / socially dislocate a ‘stone-age’ community, (‘Iraq’), for alleged ‘Failure’ to punish/prevent another country’s citizens, (Saudi Arabia), who trashed the world trade center’s during the ‘public-piety’ event of 11.Sept.01?

  22. Mark B Miller says:

    No, the Facebook picture and comment was only used to get people to read the article. Otherwise it would have just been another story about another family tragedy that us American’s would have overlooked. = American Journalism.

  23. Dave says:

    This writer needs to go back to the third grade and learn how to write… It is unbelieveably poor writing…

  24. Joe says:

    The 2nd child was taken off life support yesterday.

  25. sunan says:

    “Where did she get the phone?”…… I work in the inter city and if I have one more client tell me they just got “an Obama phone”….I am going to rip my hair out. This is not an uncommon situation…Obama drops presents from the air (not really, just the hard working tax payers of America) to buy votes……nothing new here

  26. Dave Johanssen says:

    I guess as long as the father didn’t get custody the system worked. Way to go feminists.

  27. Mike Alright says:

    A mentally ill US women? Not a chance in this advanced, feminized and flowery society.

  28. Joe Golfendude says:

    Facebook comment posters … How about a CLASS ACTION Law suit against facebook for the ITTY-BITTY font change that will surely cause many to damage their eyes.

    As to this story … JUST SAD the country we live in today and those that ignore the ill ones in it.

  29. michaelp says:

    There is plenty of people who owned homes and paid there taxes, living in there cars now too !

  30. empresas de gipuzkoa says:

    Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with almost all vital infos. I would like to look more posts like this .

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