ORANGEBURG, SC (CNN/WCSC) – The cousin of a mother in jail for allegedly suffocating two of her children to death and then putting them in the Edisto River says her cousin snapped, but she never saw it coming.
"I don't know what goes on inside her home, but from the outside, it looked like she took care of her kids," said cousin Denise Duley.
Many are wondering what could have driven a caring mother to do what investigators say 29-year-old Shaquan Duley has confessed to. Orangeburg Sheriff Larry Williams said she checked into a motel room, suffocated her children with her hands, strapped them into their car seats, drove them 13 miles, and rolled them in the vehicle into the river.
Williams said Tuesday that the night before the children were placed in the river there was a dispute between Duley and her mother.
Helen Duley, Shaquan's mother, did not want to speak about the tragedy. Shaquan Duley told investigators she and her mother disagreed over how Shaquan was raising her children, an 18-month-old and a 2-year-old boy. Duley was unemployed and living with her mother.
"Her thoughts were for me to be free, do what I wish, if I didn't have the children, I could do what I want," Williams said.
Williams described it as an emotional rush that pushed Duley to kill her kids Monday morning at the Trumps Inn Motel in Orangeburg.
Hotel owner Renuka Patel checked Duley in that night and she said she seemed scared and in a hurry.
"She gave me the $100 bill when I tried to give her the money she didn't count it and she just ran out," Patel explained.
The room was at the back of the hotel, so Patel said she did not see the car or the children, and the police had already gotten here before check in, so she also did not see the evidence of what investigators say happened behind this door.
It wasn't until Tuesday, one day after the murders, that Patel learned that investigators say the children were killed in her hotel.
"I feel mad about her, very angry," Patel said. "I feel sad for those kids."