Mother, 34, kills her two children, then kills herself


I saw on the local news this morning that a 34-year old mom killed her two kids, ages 5 and 9, then hung herself from a fan in a bedroom with an electrical chord.

What possesses a parent to kill their children?  In this case, it’s not postpartum depression  The kids are too old.  Obviously the mom wasn’t ‘well’, but how can a parent, especially a mom, look at her kids and kill them?  There is no way I could harm my kids, much less kill them.  Sure, maybe there were times I yelled at them when I shouldn’t have.  I know I wasn’t the best mom in the world all the time and some psychologist somewhere will probably say I damaged my kids in some way, shape or form, but I love my kids.  I would die to protect my kids.

What are your thoughts?  What is with the latest trend of moms killing their kids?  Sorry for the morbid thought but I actually started a fantasy novel a while back with this as a plot line, but couldn’t finish it because I couldn’t wrap my head around the mom actually killing her kid.  What would possess a parent to do something so horrific?

I would love you hear  your comments.

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17 thoughts on “Mother, 34, kills her two children, then kills herself

  1. It’s hard to ‘like’ the topic of your post, but I appreciate that you posted it. I’ve been a bit out of the news loop these days and hadn’t heard about this instance, yet. However, lately, there seems to be so many other cases that I’m having a really hard time wrapping my brain around the whole idea of a parent, especially a mom, killing their kids. We should all be a little more observant. Maybe if someone had noticed that the woman was struggling, or her moods changed violently, or that she may have needed help of some kind, this tragedy could have been avoided.Thanks for posting about it, Jenny.

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  2. This sort of thing always reminds me of last year where a father threw his 4 year old daughter off the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne, 60 metres to her death. Apparently that was the result of a custody battle. The entire country was in shock over that. He had his other two kids in the car with him at the time. Witnesses who saw him pull over and drag the girl out of the car needed counselling after trying in vain to believe it was a dummy he threw over. The media reported that the jury was asked to decide if he was “mad or bad”. If they determined he was suffering from mental illness he could get off the murder charge, otherwise it’s jail for a long time. He’s now serving 32 years.
    No idea how these thoughts can enter someone’s mind.

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    1. Oh my! That made me cry just reading it. How terrible. I can’t believe that was anything but pre-meditated. Poor, poor little girl. Heartbreaking. I just don’t understand.

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  3. In the wild, a mother animal will sometimes kill her young because she can’t feed it (or it is sick/injured) and it is faster for her to do the deed than to leave the infant to starve.

    They also sometimes kill their young because they can no longer recognize them (such as when the young are touched by humans and no longer smell right.)

    We’re not so different from animals, save that we have a greater capacity for regret afterward.

    I can also easily see a parent killing in a moment of passion – hitting a child too hard in a single snap moment of rage, or pushing the child over and having a child hit furniture. That obviously wouldn’t explain killing both kids.

    The unique parent-child bond is partly emotional affection and familiarity (what we would think of as the human factor), partly biological protectiveness of your genes, and partly oxytocin – the love hormone that happens when you touch another human being (or to a lesser extent, animal) with affection.

    If any (or all) of these three are out of balance, then the bond isn’t going to be strong and it becomes less a question of how you could kill your child and more a question of just how you could kill a human being, period.

    In the story you describe, without more information, my instinct is that the mother was suicidal. There are any number of possible reasons, but she wanted to die, and couldn’t bear to leave her children to suffer without her. It’s the mother animal possibility I started with above.

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    1. Sorry to reply to myself, but this would become doubly true if her suicide was related to abuse. If, for instance, the father who would “care” for the children after she was gone was untrustworthy. This isn’t to say he was…I haven’t even read the story!…but it would be one possibility.

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      1. interesting concept. Now THAT I could see as a rationalization of a sick mind. it is the same reason women stay in abusive relationships for fear of what the ‘father’ would do if she wasn’t there to protect them.

        As you said, there is no way of knowing if this was even a factor, but it is an understandable twist.

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    2. I agree with your argument except we as humans have the capability to reason. Animals don’t. If their young is sick, instinct tells them to kill it or walk away and let it die. If the parent is sick, it will walk away to die alone or die in the presence of her young. I don’t know of any animal who kills their young and then kills themselves…except for humans.

      Slowly the reports are coming out. The mom’s name was Dawn Brown and according to neighbors, was a doting mother. She was involved in her son’s school. Her sons were to go on a boat today with their next door neighbor. There was a report her oldest got into a fight at the bus stop with one of his friends on Friday and had to go to the guidance counselor upon arriving at school.

      Some reports say the children were strangled, though that has not been confirmed. IF the children were strangled, the mom had to know what she was doing. At some point she had to rationalize. If they were strangled, she would have had to do one at a time. Surely did something not click that she was killing her kids? It’s one thing to take your own life but to knowingly kill your child is more than I can comprehend, no matter the argument.

      Thank you so much for trying to help me understand. I’m still at a loss. 🙂

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      1. Ok, I absolutely agree that it is horrible! I think it might be the conflict between animal and human that causes it, though…at least in part. The monstrous act of killing is the animal (whatever the reason) and the guilt and suicide are the human when the mind catches up to what you’ve done.

        That won’t explain every case, but I suspect it has a part in many.

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  4. The only comfort I find in a situation like this is to hope and pray, that this individual had a severe chemical imbalance. Such an action is not sane and I’m also wondering who else surrounding this mother didn’t intervene before the situation escalated to such a crazy act of hopefully, some sort of brain miswiring.

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  5. i think it’s an interesting, and timely, topic for a book, and it would be a great exercise to try and understand the mental processes (or lack there of) which would bring someone to that point.

    It is perhaps the most heinous crime you can think of. I don’t have kids, and I struggle to understand when I read or see something about it.

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    1. I may revisit the book at some time, if I can get my head to swing to the dark side. It travels there now and then but doesn’t linger long, thank goodness. I’d get worried if I turned out to be a female version of Stephen King. 🙂

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  6. Well, I don’t know how much it will show of my warped mind but I am going to post a few thoughts. Not knowing the details of this particular case but in general – if she had PPD (or depression, bi-polar earlier in life) that was never properly diagnosed or treated, that could have snowballed. She may have had reason (or think she did) to believe that she could not properly care for or support her kids and that living through what she thought was to come would be too horrible to bear. Either financially, emotionally, or physically, or a combo – there is a lot of pressure to do a thing right or not at all (if you’re so weak as to need help, you are worthless) and in the mind of a person already suffering fear, depression, guilt, etc that can be turned inward to a frightening extreme. Perhaps she was a victim of some subtle abuse telling her that if it hadn’t been for her and or the kids, someone’s life would have been better. She may have had some religious or spiritual or totally atheistic belief that they would truly be better off: in heaven, reincarnated, just no longer suffering, etc. Perhaps a medical condition had reared its head (or again she thought it had) threatening the kids. Maybe she felt she had no support in some area(s) of her life and saw no way out. Once you hit bottom, it’s not even that the top looks so far up. The top comes right down there with you and sits on your shoulders.

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    1. This is a fantastic assessment, and I can relate to your last comment about the top coming right down and landing on your shoulders. I’ve been there, myself, but I didn’t kill my kids. What makes some of us hang in there and others break?

      Personally, I can’t handle hearing about anyone harming an animal or a child. It breaks my heart and makes me angry. I know I can’t pass judgment. I don’t know the situation, but the image of what those kids may have gone through, especially if they were aware their mom was killing them, is too much for me. Two innocent lives are gone. It is just so very sad.

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  7. Jenny-
    I also don’t understand this crime. I yelled at my kids WAY too much when they were preschool aged. I credit their dad’s gentle constancy for their well-balanced mental status as young adults. I’m not good with babies or little kids. The first five years of my oldest sons’s life felt like a million years and I was little more than a zombie with ulcers. We all survived.
    My only explanation for these mothers’ behavior is that they have a psychotic break. They aren’t mentally stable.
    Of course, this isn’t a recent phenomenon. Ancient Greek plays had this same thing in their plots. Think of Medea created by Euripides, who killed her children to spite her unfaithful husband.
    The truth is, even if someone could explain to me the impetus for this action, I still wouldn’t understand. Mothers are to nurture; mothers who abandon, neglect or kill their children are unnatural – not misunderstood.
    –Sharon

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    1. I think it’s because moms are thought of a nurturers that makes this seem so unfathomable. While it’s not good to think of either parent killing their children, the fact that mom did it just makes the crime harder to understand.

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