A Pennsylvania mother who wrote on social media that she was “slowly dying inside” was found dead along with the body of her 12-month-old son in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said.
State police conducting a welfare check found Sheri Shermeyer, 40, dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in her Shrewsbury Township home at about 1 p.m. Monday, the York County Coroner’s office said.
Shermeyer’s son, John, was also found dead, possibly of asphyxiation. He celebrated his first birthday just weeks earlier, on December 8.
The baby was believed to have been suffocated by his mother before she took her own life, officials said.
Just two hours before the bodies were found, Shermeyer posted what appeared to be a suicide note on Facebook.
“I want you to know that I LOVE John Russell more than anything in this world,” she wrote. “I always thought of myself to be a strong person. I've been through Hell and back and still had a smile. I've lost too many people; family, friends, pets, jobs etc. But as of late I don't feel so strong. I have been slowly dying inside.”
Shermeyer wrote that while her son was the only reason she was still living, she still planned on killing herself and keeping her husband, to whom she appeared to be addressing in parts of the note, from the boy.
“You will never see your son again. You don't deserve to have a son, to have a legacy. Why should you have your name carried on? ... Just hate it had to end this way,” she wrote.
Loved ones urged Shermeyer not to do anything to herself and others posted that they had called the police to check on the mother and son. Soon, comments of encouragement turned into posts of mourning.
“You are both beautiful souls who will be dearly missed,” one friend wrote.
“She was an amazing person and we just saw them for John's first birthday a few weeks ago,” another friend posted. "This is a tragedy and I myself cannot believe this."
Loved ones were left reeling after her death, shocked by the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
"I can tell you this just doesn't seem right at all," a friend who would speak only on the condition of anonymity told InsideEdition.com. "It's very hard to accept that this was actually coming from her. She was so adamant about suicide prevention for our veterans. I can't sing her praises high enough."
Shermeyer had always wanted children and was so excited to learn she was going to be a mother, the friend said.
"She was such a warm, loving, gracious woman," the friend said. "Her warmth was absolutely infectious. Her love of John, I can't even tell you what that baby meant to her. A mother's love was never so strong.
"John was the happiest, sweetest baby; Sherri taught him sign, and he had the most infectious giggle," the friend continued. "She loved him and wanted to be a mother so badly ... I wish you could have met her, she just lit up a room."
Shermeyer often took to Facebook to share snippets of her life, posting photos of her little boy smiling and laughing, pictures of antique cars and motorcycles, as well as quotes with words of inspiration and melancholy.
“Sometimes what you're most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free,” a quote posted to her cover photo on Christmas night read.
On November 7, she shared the number of a suicide prevention hotline, writing: “A simple copy and paste might save someone’s life.”
Autopsies of the mother and child are scheduled for Wednesday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. Police are still investigating the incident.