Awful Details About Woman Known As "Shovel Lady" Who Killed Mom With Crossbow And Left Body Under A Blanket For Days

Photo: Daily Mail
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Neighbors of Lisa Marie Caplan said they often saw her walking the streets with a shovel.

A mentally ill Pennsylvania woman was charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault after she told police she shot her 71-year-old mother, Sandra Marie Bardnt, with a crossbow. 

According to the Times News of Lehighton, Bardnt's family members called police on Sept. 29 worried that they hadn't heard from her since Sept. 27. When officers arrived at the home Lisa Marie Caplan shared with her mother, she admitted to shooting her after an argument. 

Caplan, 51, said after she got into a fight with Bardnt, she went upstairs, loaded a crossbow, went back downstairs and shot her mother in the neck as she sat on the couch. 

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She then went back upstairs, reloaded the weapon, went back downstairs and shot Bardnt again in the facial area.

Then she went to bed. 

Daily Mail

Brenda Holliday called police after discovering her daughter's boyfriend had received a text from Caplan that claimed she killed her mother. When officers arrived, they found Barndt dead, with an "object" sticking out of her body, which was covered with a rug. 

According to Newswatch 16, Caplan's attorney says she has a long history of mental illness, including chronic schizophrenia and was recently released from a psychiatric facility. 

"For decades, Ms. Caplan has been in and out of mental health facilities," Attorney Jon Ostroff said. "Throughout this time, she has been a danger to herself and her family. During these years, it has been her family's long-standing position that she should remain under the care and close watch of mental health professionals who are trained to properly treat and control her."

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Caplan's neighbor, Shawn Green, said he would often see her walking the neighborhood carrying a shovel, and she was known as "the shovel lady." 


Though neighbors agreed her behavior was strange, they said they never considered Caplan to be dangerous. They also never heard Caplan and her mother arguing. 

In 2010, she pleaded guilty to identity theft, and in 2014, she pleaded guilty to lying to police during a case that had initially included a charge of purchasing or delivering a firearm. That charge was later withdrawn. 

"Due to the failure of the mental health system, she was recently released from a psychiatric institution once again," Ostroff said. "Yesterday, she was charged by police with using a crossbow to shoot and kill her elderly mother."

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz). 

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