Shrewsbury woman posted online message before murder-suicide

Jason Addy

The Shrewsbury Township woman who police say killed herself after suffocating her 1-year-old son on the day after Christmas apparently left a long suicide note on social media.

The message was posted about 10:50 a.m. Monday to a public Facebook page belonging to Sheri Shermeyer. It appears to be directed to the father of John R. Shermeyer, the baby found dead with Shermeyer about two hours later.

Sheri Shermeyer and John Shermeyer.

Sheri Ann Griffin married Tracy Alan Shermeyer in October 2014, according to York County public records.

“You will never see your son again,” the author wrote. “You don't deserve to have a son, to have a legacy. Why should you have your name carried on?”

Pennsylvania State Police were dispatched to 12069 Baltimore St. in Shrewsbury Township about 1 p.m. to conduct a welfare check, according to the York County Coroner’s Office.

Pennsylvania State Police were dispatched to the Shrewsbury Township home Sheri Shermeyer shared with her husband on Baltimore Street at around 1 p.m. Dec. 26 to conduct a welfare check. It’s there that troopers found Shermeyer and her 1-year-old son dead in an apparent murder suicide. It’s believed Shermeyer suffocated John Shermeyer before shooting herself.

There, troopers found 40-year-old Sheri Shermeyer dead in bed from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, state police said.

They also found the body of John Shermeyer, 12 months old, who was apparently suffocated by his mother.

Autopsies on mother and son are scheduled for Wednesday at Lehigh Valley Hospital, the coroner said. Sheri Shermeyer’s death is being investigated as a suicide and the toddler’s as a homicide.

Online note: The message posted to Sheri Shermeyer’s Facebook page appears to be from someone struggling with relationship issues and depression.

“I have been slowly dying inside. I'm confused, just torn down, hardly ever go out in public anymore, don't socialize with people, I've become a hermit,” the author wrote. “I feel that the ONLY thing I have to live for is this little guy asleep in my arms right now, John. He is the only reason why I haven't blown my head off right now.

John Shermeyer

“And even now, all I can think about is leaving this world,” the message continues. “Putting a gun in my mouth and leaving. Which is what is going to happen.”

The post on Sheri Shermeyer’s public Facebook page is seven paragraphs long.

The post had about 30 comments by the time news of the deaths began to circulate. Many of the early commenters urged Shermeyer to escape her situation and bring her son to North Carolina. Shermeyer was raised in Harnett County, North Carolina, and graduated from Western Harnett High School in 1994, according to her Facebook page.

“I am so sorry that you are hurting. If you ever need a listening ear I am always here. You are loved by many always have been ... your true friends in NC that grew up with you love you for who you are. You are a wonderful friend, mother, person, woman, the list goes on,” one poster wrote.

Feeling suicidal? Talk to someone

Two hours after the original post, commenters began asking people to call police to do a welfare check on Shermeyer and her son.  The York County Coroner’s Office was dispatched to Shermeyer’s home about 1:55 p.m., just three hours after the post.

As of Tuesday night, the post had been shared almost 900 times and garnered more than 1,000 comments, many expressing shock and offering sympathy for the family and some expressing outrage toward Sheri Shermeyer.

One of those who left a comment was Cindy Richard, director of the York County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

"This is horrible news, and I have read all of the responses after hearing from the coroner," she wrote. "If anyone needs to talk, please contact me at 227-0048. We have support groups you may want to attend."

Multiple efforts to reach Tracy Shermeyer and other family members on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

State police continue to investigate the deaths.