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Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to the "Prom Mom" -- Meyer and Oberman shatter the myth that such mothers are necessarily mad or monstrous. Social forces can contribute to the causes and cures for infanticide.

Facing the Wind: A True Story of Tragedy and Reconciliation by Julie Salamon -- In the morning of Feb. 21, 1978, Bob Rowe, a Mill Basin, NY, an out-of-work Brooklyn lawyer, stood by the bed watching his teenage son sound asleep, lifted a baseball bat and, with a deliberate blow smashed his son's head. Jennifer, 8, was worried her brother was sleeping so late, her father coaxed her into bed with her 12-year-old brother, Christopher. ''We're going to play a game,'' Rowe told them. ''Close your eyes.''

Melissa Drexler
Andrea Yates
Marie Noe

Diane Downs
Jeffrey R. MacDonald

Domestic Violence

On September 11, 2011, Lindsey Brooke Lowe, 25, gave birth to twins on a toilet in her parents’ home. She smothered them both and lef their bodies in in her bedroom laundry hamper.

Why Parents Kill Their Children -- 1) The mother who plans to take her own life and believes that the children are better off with her 2) the parent is acutely psychotic; 3) fatal battering; 4) to get rid of an unwanted baby; 5) spousal revenge.

Parents Who Slay Their Children -- A father turned his home into a gas chamber, killing 5 children. A former nurse drowns 5 children in the bathtub. Since the myth of Medea, who murdered her children after her lover deserted her, filicide is society's most aberrant act.

Children with chronic health conditions are 88% more likely to suffer physical abuse than healthy children, according to research in the March issue of Acta Paediatrica. They are also 154% more likely to suffer a combination of physical abuse and exposure to intimate partner violence than their healthy school friends.

Julie Schenecker, 50, of Tampa Palms, FL was sick of her teenage children talking back to her, so she bought a .38-caliber pistol and planned their murder and her suicide. She shot her 13-year-old son after driving him home from soccer practice. Then shot her 16-year-old daughter in the back of the head as she did homework. Julie's husband, children's father, Army Col. Parker Schenecker, is stationed at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He had been in the Middle East. Several weeks later her husband, the children's father, met with her for the first time in jail to tell her he was seeking a divorce.

Father Claims He Killed Missing Swiss girls -- Matthias Schepp, 43, father of missing Swiss twins sent a letter to his wife saying he killed 6 year-old Alessia and Livia Schepp before committing suicide. He studied suicide techniques, poisons and ferry schedules before taking the twins from their home in western Switzerland on January 30. Schepp killed himself by stepping in front of a train on February 3.

Emily (Jane) and Nancy (Jean) Hopkins were fraternal twins. Emily received an MBA from Harvard and became a chemical engineer.Nancy joined a national brokerage firm and was active in Dallas social circles. Relatives noticed signs of mental illness in the twins. When Nancy  was pregnant she tried to kill her two young sons and herself with a drug overdose. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Emily fatally stabbed her 9-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter and then killed herself.

Shortly before Christmas 2001, Christian Longo murdered his wife, MaryJane Longo, and their 3 children, Zachary, Sadie Ann, and Madison. He then stuffed their bodies into luggage and pillowcases and dumped their bodies into Oregon's Pacific Coast. He was captured living in a grass hut at a beach resort in Tulúm Mexico. He received the death penalty which was upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court. Book: Love, Daddy: The True Story of Accused Con Man and Family Killer Christian Longo

Darin and Darlie Routier's two young sons were attacked in the middle of the night. Darlie was badly wounded. But the police said her story just didn't add up. Is Darlie Routier falsely accused or a murderer?
Book: Hush Little Babies: The True Story Of A Mother Who Murdered Her Own Children

Deanna Laney -- A mother stones her two sons to death, and critically injures another, claiming God told her to do it. A jury found her not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Psychiatrist Park Dietz concluded she did not know right from wrong.

Is Garrett Wilson a loving father In 1987, Wilson's 5 month-old son, Garrett Michael, died. Missy Anastasi, Wilson's wife, suspected foul play. A medical examiner ruled he died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Seven years later, Anastasi discovered Wilson secretly divorced her to marry another woman, and had another child. She asked police to look into her son's death. What they found shocked them. Can police gather enough evidence? Read Chapter 1 of Adrian Havill's gripping examination of the Garrett Wilson case.

Theresa Cross Knorr -- Theresa Knorr and her five children lived in Sacramento.She was-insanely jealous of her beautiful daughters. She drugged, handcuffed and shot Suesan, her 16-year-old daughter, left her to suffer and then had her two sons burn her alive. Theresa beat 20-year-old Sheila severely and locked her in a closet until she starved to death. Her brothers dumped her body near where they had cremated Suesan. It took her daughter Terry five years to convince authorities to investigate. Theresa pled guilty to 2 counts of murder in exchange for her sons, victims of child abuse, not being prosecuted. Book: Whatever Mother Says...: A True Story of a Mother, Madness and Murder.

October 25, 1994, in Union, South Carolina, Susan Smith drowned her sons, Michael, 3, and Alex, 14 months, in John D. Long Lake. She reported a black man stole her car with her children. A week later, Smith confessed she had drowned them by driving into a lake. The defense's sentencing phase of the trial focused on her past. While serving her life sentence Smith admitted to sex with a prison guard. Susan placed an online personal ad seeking not judgmental pen pals who want to write to a "sensitive, caring, and kind-hearted" convicted murderer who loves "rainbows, Mickey Mouse, the beach, the mountains, and waterfalls." She adds, "I have grown and matured alot since my incarceration, but I will always hurt for the pain I've caused so many, especially my children." South Carolina v. Susan V. Smith. Books: Susan Smith: Victim or Murderer by George RekersMy Daughter Susan Smith by Linda Russell

Debra Jean Milke, on death row in Arizona after being convicted the murder of her 4-year-old son. Prosecutors say Milke had him killed because he was an "inconvenience." Milke claims her conviction hinges on the unsupported word of one police officer and the vengeful testimony of embittered family members. A Mother's Story of Murder (American Justice) [VHS]

Marie Noe, 70 was arrested at her Philadelphia home and charged with smothering 8 of her young children, 30 years after the last death.

Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson - 20, were sentenced in Wilmington, Del., to a couple years in prison after the college students and former high-school sweethearts pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of their newborn son in a motel in 1996.

Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald -- The Princeton-educated Army surgeon is in prison for the murder of his wife and 2 young daughters.

Diane Downs is convicted of the shooting of her own 3 young children.

Bradley was conceived out of rape. Sheryl Hardy, 33, met Thomas Coe living in a truck. After they abandoned her 4 month old son, Bradley, at a mall, he was placed in foster care. They married Coe and had a daughter. Bradley's foster parents wanted to adopt him, but Hardy fought and won custody. In 1989, Sheryl watched as her husband shoved Bradley's head into the toilet like a plunger and beat him with couch cushions. Bradley died the next day, 66 days after he was returned to his biological mother he was dead. Coe was responsible for the worst abuses but mother cleaned him with a garden hose, shook him violently and ran a fork of feces over his mouth. Coe is serving a life sentence for 1st degree murder. Their daughter and a second girl born in prison were placed for adoption. Hardy has no contact with them. After Hardy served 9 years she moved to her hometown where an Illinois judge awarded her custody of her 9-month-old son.

Melissa Drexler - “The Prom Mom” arrived at her senior prom, gave birth to a 6 lb, 6 oz son, baby boy, strangled him to death, threw him in the garbage, and returned to the prom where she ate and requested the Metallica song “Unforgiven” to be played for her boyfriend. She plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter.

Marco Barrera Sentenced to death for killing his daughter, "Lupita" Esquivel, 2; and a son, Ernesto Esquivel, 5. The victims' mother, Petra Ricardo, 38, pleaded " no contest" to child endangerment and agreed to testify against her husband and sister, Maria Ricardo, 31. Barrera had 8 children, including the victims, with Petra Ricardo, had 6 more with her sister, Maria. Thirteen children, including the victims, lived with Maria and Barrera in a converted garage.

Andrea Yates, 36, Texas - Suffering from postpartum depression since the birth of her 2-year-old, she drowned her 5 children, ranging in age, from 6 months to 7 years. Child Protection Services had investigated the family after Andrea's suicide attempt two years before believed the children were being cared for properly.

Christina Marie Fiske, 22, a former Western Carolina University student plead guilty to killing her 6.5 pound newborn baby baby girl. Fiske admitted killing her shortly after birth and bagging her with her trash.

Forced prenatal care - Rebecca Corneau may be a religious extremist whose gross negligence allowed her baby to die. Corneau and her husband are members of a religious sect that calls itself a "sovereign nation." The group from 3 interrelated families, adheres to what they interpret as the tenets of the Old Testament. They home school their 13 children, and believe conventional medicine, is blasphemous.

Kirk Douglas Billie, 32, Miccosukee Indian, is accused of killing his two young sons. Prosecutors say Billie, drowned his sons in an act of vengeance against his girlfriend. The Miccosukee tribe settled with Billie, after an apology and they asked prosecutors to leave it at that. The 2nd-degree murder verdict means he could receive 15 years in prison for each count.

Ora Armenthia Prince - formerly known as Ora Lewis, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing her son, Willie Brookshire Jr., 10, in 1993 and leaving his body in the closet of a homeless shelter.

Socorro "Cora" Caro, 42, Nov. 22, 1999 after a fight with her husband, Xavier Caro, 52, a Northridge physician, killed her sleeping children , Joey, 11, Michael, 8 and Christopher, 5 with a .38 caliber handgun. Caro shot herself in the head but survived. An infant, was unharmed. Xavier arrived home to the bodies of his 3 children and wounded wife. Socorro who originally contended her husband killed her children, and shot her. pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Father whose wife killed 5 kids in 1965 -- Nov. 22, 1965, Maggie Young, a 38-year-old mother of 7 drowned her 5 youngest children in a bathtub. Her husband, James Young, an Air Force captain, had been away on a flying mission.

Marybeth Tinning

Books On Child Abuse


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Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony

Prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, sheds light on the behind-the-scenes investigation, the trial, and verdict. Ashton offers an in-depth look at Casey Anthony, whose lies he spent three years trying to understand. Complete with never-before-revealed information.



Bitter Harvest: A Woman's Fury, A Mother's Sacrifice
Ann Rule --October 1995, Prairie Village, Kansas, a fierce fire devastated the mansion of Dr. Debora Green and her husband, Dr. Michael Farrar. Trapped and burned to death in the flames were Tim Farrar, 12 and Kelly, 6. Lissa, 10, was able to leap to safety from the garage. Michael Farrar lost more than his children and home. Michael's illness - mysterious episodes so violent he came close to death. John Walker was found dead in his garage. Debora herself, underwent dramatic changes.

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