As she sprawled dying from police bullets in the shadow of the Capitol, 34-year-old dental hygienist Miriam Carey left an 18-month-old daughter and a mystery that confounded even those closest to her.

Her older sister in Brooklyn said the family was puzzled by why she was even in Washington, D.C., much less why she had crashed into a barricade outside the White House and hit a Secret Service officer, then led police on a wild chase that ended at the Capitol.

Her mother, Idella Carey, would tell ABC News that Miriam had been hospitalized for postpartum depression after the birth of her baby. The child’s father is also said to have expressed concern.

But her sister had spoken to her on Wednesday and Carey had not seemed to be upset or in any way irrational. Carey was one person who had not been speaking about the shutdown and the mess in Washington. 

But, there she was on Thursday in the video the whole world was watching. The family recognized her black Infiniti with the Connecticut plates, but her postpartum depression must have been more devastating than anybody could have imagined for her to be at the wheel as the car came to a stop by the President Garfield Memorial, surrounded by cops with drawn guns and seemingly trapped until she suddenly backed up and lurched forward, breaking like in an action movie.

A college graduate with degrees in dental hygiene and nutrition who had never been arrested or in trouble and is said to be related to a retired NYPD sergeant, she then sped off with the police firing. She zoomed around Peace Circle with its pedestal topped by stone figures of History and Grief.

And what made it even harder to believe, what would make postpartum among the most insidious of disorders if it was indeed the cause, Carey had her toddler daughter in the car. Carey veered past a bollard, finally crashing into a barricade not far from a guard booth. She is said to have attempted to flee on foot as more shots rang out. She fell fatally wounded. A police officer took the uninjured child from the car.

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