Maternal Filicide | Killing One’s Own Child/Children

Maternal Filicide | Killing One’s Own Child/Children | Author

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Filicide is the act of killing one’s own child or children

On average, 450 children are killed every year by their parents.

A study in 1969 on maternal filicide found that while mothers convicted of murdering their children were hospitalized 68 % of the time and imprisoned 27 % of the time, fathers convicted of killing their children were sentenced to prison, or executed, 72 % of the time and hospitalized only 14 % percent of the time.

In 1997, a US Department of Justice study found that children under the age of eight are more likely to be killed by their mothers, while those eight and older are more likely to be killed by their fathers. Throughout childhood, sons are more likely to be killed than are daughters.

An Overview of Filicide | Abstract | Definitions of Filicide | Classification Systems of Filicide

Maternal Filicide

Maternal Filicide is usually committed by the mother. World psychiatric literature on maternal filicide found filicidal mothers to have frequent depression, psychosis, prior mental health treatment and suicidal thoughts.

Maternal filicide perpetrators have five major motives:

1 In an altruistic filicide, a mother kills her child out of love; she believes death to be in the child’s best interest. For example, a suicidal mother may not wish to leave her motherless child/children to face an intolerable world. Or a psychotic mother may believe that she is saving her child from a fate worse than death. (Madison Hallett)

Altruistic Filicide is the most common motive.

Madison Hallett

Madison Hallett

Madison Hallett shot her two young children before turning the 40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun on herself and pulling the trigger three times. Authorities believe that she’d been planning this gruesome scenario for weeks.

Five handwritten suicide letters were found that essentially said she was tired of life and didn’t want her children to go through it.

Maternal Filicide-Suicide – Altruistic Filicide

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2 In an acutely psychotic filicide, a psychotic or delirious mother kills her child without any comprehensible motive. For example, a mother may follow command hallucinations. (Andrea Yates)

Maternal Filicide
Andrea Yates

Andrea Yates

On June 20, 2001, during the hour between her husband leaving for work and her mother-in-law arriving to supervise her with the kids, Andrea Yates filled the bathtub with water and proceeded to drown all five of her children.

She had been suffering for some time from very severe postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and schizophrenia.

Andrea believed that Satan himself possessed her. That he actually lived inside of her and, in order to save the kids from her parenting them right into hell, they would have to die.

Maternal Filicide-Postpartum Psychosis

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3 When fatal maltreatment filicide occurs, death is usually not the anticipated outcome but rather it results from cumulative child abuse, neglect, or Munchausen syndrome by proxy. (Lacey Spears)

Maternal Filicide
Lacey Spears

Lacey Spears

Lacey Spears, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter of her 5-year-old son. On March 2, 2015, a jury found Spears guilty of murdering her son by poisoning him with table salt, which she had administered to him from infancy, through a feeding tube.

The judge in the case acknowledged that Lacey Spears suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Maternal Filicide-Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

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4 In an unwanted child filicide, a mother thinks of her child as a hindrance. (Diane Downs)

Maternal Filicide
Elizabeth Diane Downs

Diane Downs

Diane Down’s children were in the way. The married man she was having an affair with, did not want children.

So, in the spring of 1983, Diane Downs shot her three children, with all intentions of killing them. All to gain the man she loved.

Maternal Filicide-The Unwanted Child Filicide

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5 The most rare, spouse revenge filicide occurs when a mother kills her child specifically to emotionally harm that child’s father. (China Arnold)

China Arnold

China Arnold

Prosecutors say China P. Arnold intentionally put 28-day-old Paris Talley in a microwave and turned it on after a fight with her boyfriend. The couple had argued over whether the boyfriend was the infant’s biological father.

Maternal Filicide-Spouse Revenge Filicide

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RELATED

Filicide is the act of killing one’s own child/children

Infanticide is child murder in the first year of life.

Neonaticide is the murder of a child in the first 24 hours of life. Nearly all neonaticides are committed by mothers.

Sources: thelineup.com | ncbi.nlm.nih.gov | thoughtcatalog.com | victimsheartland.forumotion.com | en.wikipedia.org

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Christine Adewunmi
Christine Adewunmi

Christine Adewunmi

Maternal Filicide

Christine Adewunmi was so serious about killing herself that she researched how to commit suicide on the internet.

Unfortunately she decided that she would have to take all three of the children with her. Even in death she would be near her beloved little girls.

On March 17th, 2012, Christine waited until her husband had left the house. She loaded her three children in the family SUV and drove them to a dead end on a gravel road where she proceeded to shoot each one of them in the head. Then she turned the gun to herself.

Altruistic Filicide

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