March 27, 2013
Dr. Phil speaks to Brenda and Jeremy Perry, who tragically lost their two young sons just weeks ago at the hands of Brenda’s mother, who then turned the gun on herself. And, Bethany admits to intentionally burning her own face with drain cleaner. Why would she want to hurt herself?
Jeremy and Brenda Perry say that the morning of February 26, 2013 began like any other: They awoke, prepared their two boys, Ashton, 6-months, and Alton, 2, for their day, and dropped them off at daycare, along with dozens of cupcakes for Alton’s second birthday.
Brenda says she had concerns about her mother, Debra’s, mental health, and had never allowed Debra to be alone with her children. Debra was said to have suffered from depression, dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder. However, in recent months, Brenda says she had sought to have a closer relationship with Debra, and felt like on this particular day, her mom seemed well. Brenda says she asked Debra to pick up the children, accompanied by another family member, so that Alton didn’t have to spend too long at daycare on his birthday.
At 3:00, Brenda says she received a call from the boys’ daycare that Debra had picked up the children alone — not accompanied by a family member as planned — and taken the wrong car seat. Brenda says she called her mother to sort out the misunderstanding, but her calls went directly to voicemail. “I felt a gut-wrenching pain to know that she was alone with my kids,” Brenda says.
With the daycare just two miles away and Debra failing to show up after many hours, an Amber Alert was issued for Alton and Ashton Perry.
“It felt like something was happening or about to happen,” Brenda says.
At Debra’s home, a suicide note was located, but there was no mention about the small boys.
The following day, authorities located Debra’s car, along with the bodies of her and the boys. Police believe that Debra shot the boys and then turned the gun on herself.
Jeremy says he has tried to be a rock of strength for Brenda, and his faith has helped him. “Right after it happened, God just grabbed me,” he says.
“My worse fear after they went missing was: Is he going to blame me? Because it’s my mom,” Brenda adds. “That night we just stayed up in bed and held each other and said, ‘This is our worst nightmare. This is real. We aren’t ever going to see them again.’”
In August 2010, Bethany made headlines when she claimed a stranger approached her, and in a random act of violence, threw acid in her face, leaving her burned and disfigured.
Authorities soon began to suspect it was a hoax. Prosecutors allege that Bethany staged the attack in an attempt to garner sympathy and steal donation money.
Bethany admits that she lied and applied the industrial strength drain cleaner intentionally in an attempt to disfigure herself, but she says she never set out to deceive anyone. She says she began to believe her own lies and even relished the attention she was receiving, but was relieved when the truth was revealed.
After confessing the truth, Bethany spent one year in a mental health facility.