A 10-year-old son of a woman who shot her two children and then killed herself during a police standoff at a Texas welfare office died on Thursday, a day after his sister succumbed to her wounds.
Timothy Grimmer died Thursday evening at a San Antonio hospital after he was removed from life support, Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza said. His sister Ramie, 12, who authorities say was also shot by mother Rachelle Grimmer, died Wednesday night at the same hospital.
Their father, Dale Grimmer, spent time at his son's bedside Thursday before consulting with doctors and deciding to pull Timothy off of life support, said Mary Lee Shepherd, the children's grandmother.
"He spent hours with Ramie and finally had to let her go," Shepherd said. "He's just concentrating on saying goodbye to his children."
Their mother, 38-year-old Rachelle Grimmer, shot the children Monday and then killed herself, ending a seven-hour standoff at the Texas Department of Health and Human Services office in Laredo. Authorities say she had asked to speak to a caseworker about why her food stamps application had been rejected and pulled a gun after being taken to a private room to speak.
Police say Grimmer let the roughly two dozen people in the building besides her children leave unharmed. During the standoff, she rattled off a litany of complaints about government, Baeza said.
The family had been living in a rundown trailer park, and Rachelle Grimmer had been seeking food stamps since July, shortly after they moved to Texas from Ohio.
The state Health and Human Services Commission released a timeline on Thursday of its contact with Rachelle Grimmer dating back to July 7, when Grimmer submitted an application for benefits.
At that point Grimmer was told she would not qualify for "emergency benefits," in which documentation requirements are postponed, because she said she received child support that exceeded her expenses for rent and utilities.
A caseworker interviewed Rachelle Grimmer July 22 to see if she was eligible for benefits. She was told then that she must provide documentation of her income, in this case child support.
"We closed the case on Aug. 8 because we hadn't received proof of her income," agency spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said in an email. "If we had that, it's quite likely she would have been eligible for benefits."
On Nov. 16, Rachelle Grimmer called the agency's ombudsman to ask that someone look into her case. On Dec. 1, an agency supervisor called Grimmer, but got no answer and the voice mailbox was full.
Dale and Rachelle Grimmer divorced six or seven years ago, Shepherd said. Dale Grimmer flew to San Antonio Wednesday with his brother and father. She described him as shocked and devastated.
Shepherd said her former daughter-in-law had a history of mental illness and Dale Grimmer tried three times to have the children removed from her custody while they were living in Anaconda, Mont., and Ohio with no results.
"Many, many times he tried to tell people what was happening and nobody would listen," Shepherd said.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services could not immediately verify her claims on Thursday.
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.
It appears Rachelle Grimmer and the children were in Ohio until at least some point in 2009.
Rachelle Grimmer was homeschooling them, but keeping the Crooksville Exempted Village School District apprised of the curriculum she was using through the 2008-2009 school year, said Vicky Nelson, administrative assistant to the district superintendent.
"There were no problems," Nelson said. The district sent a renewal application to Rachelle Grimmer for the next year, but received no response and was told the family had moved.
Volz reported from Helena, Mont. Associated Press writers Terry Wallace in Dallas and Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati, Ohio, contributed to this report.