Where has the time gone? Once again, the calendar has swung around to that artificial date where everyone in the Western world is expected to fall to their knees and urinate themselves in supplication to the all-mighty mother figure. And once again, I’m here to remind you that having a womb is no guarantee that the mind it’s attached to is fit to raise the creature it shunts out.
As I’ve done before and before, we will look at some of the ever-growing list of horrible women who became horrible mothers.
Christina Treadway: The Suicidal Strangler. From earlier this year, we have this wonderful slice of humanity. Hailing from America’s toilet, Puerto Rico, she moved to the Gateway to the South, Charlotte, NC, and took work as a ticket attendant for the Carolina Panther’s games. Despite this glamorous position, something was wrong with her brain. She had been in a relationship with her children’s father, Antoine Moore, for ten years. In January, 2018, while he was out drinking with the boys, she sent him a text stating, “I love you. I’m sorry. I’m going to end it all with the kids.” Soon after a woman’s body was found, seemingly having jumped from the I-485 interstate onto the pavement below. Tracking the woman’s address, police found her two children, Isaiah (7) and Illiyah (3) near dead from manual strangulation. The children died later that night. No motive is known. Reportedly, she had no history of mental illness.
Michelle Sue Tharp: Starvation Mama. Hailing from an abusive home in one of the dingier parts of our fair country, this killer grew up poor and decided to stay there by having five children with four different abusive men, all of whom abstained from providing for their offspring. When the last, Tausha, was born, it seemed the burden was too much for the mother to bear. After a few more bad relationships, the mother stopped feeding her daughter, making her leave the room whenever dinner was being made and forcing her to root through the trash eating scraps. This began to stunt her growth, which the mother latter used in her defense stating that the starved child simply “failed to thrive”. For two years she dodged doctors and social workers about her daughter, until the child finally died of malnutrition. She and her boyfriend then strapped the dead girl into a car seat, went to her grandmother’s to call in sick to work (she had no phone of her own) and drop off a load of laundry, stopped to buy garbage bags, then dumped the child’s corpse in an wooded area. She told police that her daughter had run off at the mall. At her trial she claimed to be a good mother overwhelmed by events and that she only dumped the body because she was “afraid of being blamed.” The jury did and she was sentenced to be executed.
Debra Jenner-Tyler: The “Stabbing-Them-Quickly-With-Her Toy” Killer. Let’s hop into the wayback machine and head to 1987, where Debra Jenner took her three year old daughter Abby Lynn and stabbed her seventy times, alternating the weapon between a kitchen knife and the child’s toy airplane. Abby’s lifeless body was found with her hands showing that she tried to defend herself and grasping long, blonde hairs that likely were from her mother’s head. She appeared to have had some sort of psychotic break and “had been working a lot lately”, so she took her rage out on her “very finicky” child in their kitchen, before calling over some relatives to help clean up the mess. She confessed to the police, then rescinded at trial, but there was little doubt to her guilt and she was give life without parole. In 2003, then-Governor Bill Janklow reduced her sentence to 100 years, so she would become eligible for parole. Since then she has been denied over 20 times.
Shaquan Duley: The Wanna-Be Susan Smith. Now we take a slight step down one state to the former prison colony South Carolina. A college dropout, unemployed, manless, and mentally ill, this deranged mother smothered her two sons, Devean (2) and Ja’van (18 months), hold forcibly holding her hand over their mouths until they stopped breathing. Having been abandoned by her paramour some months earlier, she lived hand-to-mouth in a motel room and killed her children after having an argument with her own mother who claimed that Shaquan was a bad parent. Apparently the woman decided to prove her mother right. After this, she tried to commit suicide by overdosing on aspirin and then cutting her wrists with a box cutter. When these failed, she loaded her children’s corpses into her car and drove to a river. She then got out, put the car in drive, and sent it crashing into the water. She later told police that she had fallen asleep before running off a bridge, but the investigation found no skid marks or other evidence to back up her story. Her defense attorney tried the old “excused for mental illness” trick and how her being oppressed in a racist culture drove her to these acts, but the jury did not agree. She received a thirty year sentence for her crimes.
Diane Downs: The “I’ve Heard This One Before” Murderer. Always a troubled and promiscuous teen, Diane eloped with her husband and had three children, two girls and a boy, with him. After their divorce, she became obsessed with a married man. The two had a long standing affair, during which Diane stated that she would happily kill the man’s wife in order to have him all to himself. The man also had reportedly told Diane that he didn’t want children in his life. On May 19th, 1983, she pulled up to McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, in Springfield Oregon, with her three children bleeding in the back. The oldest girl was already dead, the boy had been paralyzed from the waist down, and the youngest had a stroke resulting from her injuries. Downs herself had been shot in the arm. She claimed that a man had tried to carjack them and had shot the children. Police immediately became suspicious when they saw the car’s interior was splattered with blood, but none was on her. Additionally, she suggested to the doctors that her surviving children were brain dead (even though there had been no tests performed to determine that) and that they should just pull the plug. This all told police that her story was a fabrication. During the trial she went on the old “I was an abused child” and “my father sexually molested me” routine (all of which she later recanted). She was sentenced to life imprison plus fifty years. During both of her parole hearings, she continuously changed her story. One of them is presented below.
Her life was also made into a TV movie called Small Sacrifices starring Farrah Fawcett which is included below
Happy Mothers Day everyone.
For more murderous fun try The Foot Doctor Letters: A Serial Killer Speaks Out by Rex Hurst. Available in paperback and on Kindle.