Though unimaginable, a parent killing his child, or filicide, is more common than you think. In the US alone, a mother kills her child once every three days. The thought of the primary caregiver harming the child is so unthinkable that such cases always gather a lot of attention and disbelief. As filicide is usually a product of the impaired mental health of the parent, the motive is often delusional and strange. So, we have compiled a list of 10 parents who killed their children for bizarre reasons.
1. Lacey Spears, a lonely mother from New York, deliberately kept her son sick since birth and eventually poisoned him with table salt in January 2014. The mother had Munchausen syndrome by proxy and did the deed to gain attention and sympathy online.
Lacey Spears was a blogger who regularly talked about her son’s illnesses in her online posts.
Garnett Spears was a sick child since birth and repeatedly required medical attention. They had recently moved to a community of elderly people called “The Fellowship” in New York. The mother and son were friends of everyone and were loved in the community.
One night, Garnett fell severely ill, having seizures and vomiting. He was rushed to the hospital. There he underwent treatment for a few days. After his condition became stable, and he was being sent home, the boy’s sodium level spiked to a dangerous level all of a sudden, causing his brain to swell. As Garnett’s health deteriorated, he was shifted to a more specialized facility, but the five-year-old could not be saved and died on January 23, 2014.
As Lacey Spears grieved her dead son, doctors and other medical staff grew suspicious, and law enforcement was called in.
An investigation led to some shocking discoveries; Spears had poisoned her son with table salt. She had been feeding him salt through his feeding tube since infancy to keep him sick. She did this to gain sympathy online through her blog posts and social media.
She had also lied in the past about his father, faked relationships, introduced other children as her own, and was in general a habitual liar. Her behavior was diagnosed as Munchausen syndrome by proxy; a condition where the caregiver, generally of a child, creates health problems in the dependent to gain attention. (1, 2, 3)
2. In a brutal case of ritual-murder, a highly educated yet superstitious couple from Andhra, India killed their two daughters on January 24, 2021. The parents were convinced that this ward off the evil spirits that possessed their daughters. The girls would then, with some special power, come back to life.
Purushottam Naidu, a lecturer at a government college, and his wife Padmaja were living in near isolation with their two daughters at their house in the town of Madanapalle in Andhra, India, during the corona virus lockdown.
The superstitious couple killed their daughters, 27-year-old Alekhya and 23-year-old Sai Divya, with a dumbbell and a trident in a ritual ceremony to rid them of evil spirits. They believed that both would come back to life due to some special powers.
However, seeing her daughters bleed to death, Purushottam Naidu wavered and called one of his colleagues who informed the police.
When the police arrived, the couple was in a state of trance. The mother was singing and dancing near the dead bodies. They claimed to have received messages to carry out the killings.
While the husband came out from the trance, the mother continued to exhibit delusional behavior during the ensuing police investigation, claiming to be Shiva, the Hindu deity.
The girls too seemed to be influenced by their parents and were likely aware of what was coming. This was evident by their social media posts from few days before their murder, with one post reading as “Shiva will come.” (1, 2, 3)
3. Six-year-old Brandon was killed by Christina Miracle of Clermont County on February 6, 2004. The deranged mother was attempting to resurrect her brother and baptize her son when she suffocated the child to death.
— Investigation Discovery (@DiscoveryID) May 13, 2017
Twenty-five-year-old Christina Miracle had a history of depression and paranoia. She had been admitted to a psychiatric ward twice and was asked to continue medications and seek counseling. However, she never visited a counselor and discontinued her medications.
Her untreated mental illness led Miracle to believe that she could resurrect her dead brother. On February 6, 2004, she beat and suffocated her six-year-old son, Brandon, when performing a baptization ceremony and attempting to bring her brother back to life. (1, 2, 3)
4. Kulwinder Kaur from Jalandhar, India, murdered her six-year-old son in a fit of rage because she felt that her son loved his grandmother more than her. When the son didn’t stop with his demand to be with his grandmother, she stabbed him in the abdomen with a kitchen knife.
Kulwinder Kaur lived with her in-laws and six-year-old son, Arshpreet Sing in Shahkot, Jalandhar in India. She had a strained relationship with her mother-in-law, Charanjit Kaur, and both were in a constant fight with each other.
Arshpreet Singh was close to her grandmother, and this bothered Kulwinder. On June 8, 2020, the 30-year-old mother, angry over her son’s incessant demand to go to his grandmother, stabbed him in the abdomen before jumping from the roof. The boy was rushed to the hospital but did not survive, while Kulwinder survived with minor injuries. (1, 2)
5. Andrea Yates of Houston, Texas was a troubled mother who believed that Satan was after her children and that they were destined to go to Hell. On June 20, 2001, in an attempt to save them from eternal doom, she drowned her five children in their bathtub.
Andrea Yates had previously shown signs of mental instability with multiple suicide attempts but was taken off from medication by her doctor. However, her husband Rusty was asked to never leave her alone.
June 20, 2001, after Rusty, left for work and before his mother arrived to supervise, Andrea Yates killed her five children, Noah, seven, John, five, Paul, three, Luke, two, and Mary, six, by drowning them in their bathtub of her Houston home.
She believed that they were controlled by Satan and would grow up to commit sins and end up in Hell. In her mind, John would become a serial killer and Paul, a mute and deaf, homosexual prostitute. As a saving grace, she decided to end their lives before they reached the age of accountability. (1, 2, 3)