DALLAS (AP) _ Khandi Busby's siblings insisted Tuesday that she was a "good mama," but was bipolar, off her medications and denied psychiatric care the night before police say she threw her two sons off a highway overpass and then jumped after them.
"If people knew Khandi before this they would know that was not her," her sister Tameka Busby said outside the courtroom. "It wasn't nothing but an attack from the devil."
New details emerged Tuesday about Busby's mental decline, the same day a family court judge issued an order keeping the two boys, ages 6 and 8, in foster care.
The 8-year-old boy, who had been on life support, remains in the hospital and is in critical condition but "improving daily," said Marissa Gonzales of Child Protective Services. He has a broken arm and other injuries, his aunt said. His 6-year-old brother is already in foster care.
Busby remains jailed on charges of injury to a child and attempted murder. Her bond was set at $2 million.
Witnesses say she threw her sons from an overpass 22 feet onto Interstate 30 traffic lanes March 12 during morning rush-hour traffic, then jumped herself. She and one of the boys were hit by passing cars, but all three survived.
John Turner, Busby's father, said he saw his daughter throw the boys over the railing and leap after them. The whole incident took about four seconds, he said.
Busby tossed the older brother first, then the younger and "then she went over head first," Turner said. "I was speechless."
Turner said his daughter was diagnosed as bipolar last year and had recently stopped taking her medication. She had been receiving medical care at a mental health and mental retardation clinic.
Family members acknowledged the obvious signs of her mental decline, including convictions for assault and criminal trespass and three investigations by Child Protective Services on allegations of neglect. One investigation resulted in Busby taking parenting classes and another time the boys were placed in foster care for about five months.
A few days before the incident, one of Busby's sisters summoned an ambulance to have paramedics treat her sister because of her odd behavior. But "they refused to deal with her need," Khalilah Busby said.
"I knew something was wrong with her and she just wasn't herself," Khalilah Busby said. "Things happen, people get depressed and sometimes if you don't know how to bounce back and you don't have the support you need, you just lose it. She was out of her mind."
The night before the incident, Turner said, he tried to get her admitted to a psychiatric center but was turned away because she didn't have proper insurance coverage.
"He said, 'Yeah, your daughter needs treatment and needs to be admitted into the hospital. She needs some psychiatric help,'" Turner said a care worker told him. "I said, 'Can you keep her overnight?' They said, 'No, because the insurance doesn't cover it.'"
Tameka Busby said she was unsure if her sister's oldest son, still in the hospital, is aware of what happened.
"If he is ready, I am going to explain to him that your mama was not your mama at the time this incident happened," Tameka Busby said. "It wasn't her that did it."
Busby's sisters, as well as one of the boys' parental grandfathers, said they are unhappy with the boys staying in foster care. But the state has already ruled out placing the boys with some relatives because of Child Protective Services investigations into those homes, Gonzales said.
The judge's temporary custody order keeps the boys, ages 6 and 8, in foster care under the authority of Child Protective Services. A status hearing on their custody is scheduled for May 27.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.