DALLAS - This past weekend, one Terrell Walmart shopper snapped a photo of a checkout cashier whose face she found familiar. Hours later, her suspicions were confirmed.
She had just encountered one of the most notorious characters in North Texas of the past decade: Dena Schlosser, the former Collin County mother who in 2004, killed her baby by cutting off her arms during a so-called religious frenzy.
She was found not guilty by reason of insanity, committed to a mental institution, released in 2008, and recommitted to the state hospital in Terrell in 2010. In late June, she was hired by Walmart as a store associate.
But psychiatrists have declared her not to be a risk.
Still, word spread quickly on the Internet, and area residents we talked with expressed concerns.
“For her to be in the hospital for such a short time, and then have the freedom that you and I enjoy, after what she did, I think is a shame and there should be an outcry from the public,” said Natalie Elmoghrabi, a former Terrell resident who was in town for the day.
Others expressed disappointment in Walmart for hiring someone who committed such an act.
"I think they would have delved farther into, or something wasn't disclosed maybe,” said Kaufman resident Rebecca Rodden. “Maybe Walmart just doesn’t know.”
Late Monday, Walmart confirmed that Schlosser, going now by the name Laettner, was hired in June.
"Mrs. Laettner is no longer employed by the company," said Lorenzo Lopez, a Walmart spokesman.
Lopez defended Walmart’s employment of Schlosser.
"All associates must pass a criminal background check as a condition of employment,” Lopez said. “If a charge does not result in a conviction, then we have no way of knowing an applicant’s previous criminal charges."
Lopez also says it would be improper to discriminate against prospective employees based on a psychological profile.
Yet they fired her Monday after News 8 raised questions about her past.
As to why the state has cleared Schlosser to mix with the general population, Department of State Health Services officials say patients are thoroughly assessed before a judge grants permission for their work release.