Maura Schwartz, of Deptford Township, N.J., turned on the broadcast news yesterday for information about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where her mother worked as a psychologist.
Then, the news broke: her mother, Mary Sherlach, was among the victims at the Newtown, Conn., school.
Maura Schwartz had received a phone call from her sister, Sherlach's other daughter, frantically telling them that there was a shooting at the school. But it wasn't until news reports began confirming victim information that they learned of the death.
"It was a really helpless feeling," Schwartz's husband, Eric, told the West Deptford Patch. "For about an hour, you try to say, 'They got it wrong, they got it wrong.'"
Maura and Eric Schwartz immediately drove to the Sherlach family home in Connecticut, Patch reported Saturday morning.
They could not be reached Saturday afternoon.
"I still don't think anyone's fully grasped it," Eric Schwartz, who regularly does freelance reporting for Southern Jersey Patch sites, said. "It still doesn't feel real. It's hard to wrap your head around it."
Sherlach, 56, was close to retirement, according to news reports. She had worked at Sandy Hook since August 1994, according to an online school biography in other schools in the state.
Sherlach studied psychology at the State University of New York College at Cortland and received masters and professional degrees from Southern Connecticut State University, her profile reads.
She had been married to her husband, Bill, for over 30 years and enjoyed traveling, gardening, and reading, Sherlach wrote. She wrote that she loved her job and the students.
"I truely [sic] enjoy working with the [Sandy Hook Elementary School] staff, parents and children," she wrote in her online profile, "and am always ready to assist in problem solving, intervention and prevention."
The psychologist was reportedly killed trying to stop the gunman. She was running toward him when he shot her.