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Crime News Murders

Christina Boyer Was the Subject of a Rumored Haunting Before Being Accused of Daughter's Death

Before being accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter, Amber, Christina Boyer, then known as Tina Resch, was the subject of a rumored haunting as a teen.

By Cydney Contreras

A simple search of the name Christina Boyer will lead internet sleuths to a website of the same name. ChristinaBoyer.org is dedicated to spreading the news of the woman's purported wrongful conviction for the murder of her toddler daughter, Amber.

But if you search for "Tina Resch" — Christina's name before she changed it — there is a Wikipedia page that outlines her involvement as a teen in a series of events dubbed the Columbus Poltergeist. The so-called haunting in Ohio drew interest nationwide, eventually becoming the focus of an episode of Unsolved Mysteries in 1993.

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While the paranormal activity was later declared a hoax by multiple experts in the field, media attention continued to follow Tina, who would go on to be accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter with boyfriend David Paul Herrin, according to the Rome News Tribune.  

Here are the details surrounding the purported murder.

Tina Resch (Christina Boyer) (center) and family

Who is Christina Boyer?

Long before she was accused of killing her toddler daughter, Christina was abandoned by her biological mother and put up for adoption within days of her October 23, 1969 birth, according to ChristinaBoyer.org. Franklin County Children's Services eventually placed her in the home of Joan and John Resch, who would legally adopt her by the time she turned three. 

Christina, then known as Tina Resch, seemingly lived a normal life in the Resch's Columbus, Ohio home, but she'd later find herself at the center of a media frenzy when she'd claim to be haunted by a poltergeist at the age of 14.

The Haunting of Tina Resch

According to a report from the United Press International, the haunting began in early 1984, just two years after Steven Spielbierg's hit film Poltergeist debuted in theaters. Like the Freeling family in the film, the Resches claimed that bizarre events were taking place within their home, and a poltergeist was to blame. 

So, the Resches called Columbus Dispatch reporter Mike Harden to document the phenomena.  

"Harden visited the Resches with photographer Fred Shannon and began to write about Tina and the bizarre happenings around her. The glass of a framed picture appeared to shatter in her hands. A lamp flew off a table next to her. And, most famously, a telephone appeared to fling itself across her lap in a photo caught by Shannon," the newspaper recounted in a recent article looking back on the incident.  

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After the Columbus Dispatch published the now-infamous photo of Tina, investigators and reporters descended on the Columbus home with the intent of witnessing the strange events for themselves. And while reporters were granted access to the living room, magician James Randi and Paul Kurtz, chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, as well as two astronomers from Case Western University, were turned away, the UPI reported. 

The group of experts set out to look for alternate avenues of research, instead interviewing Columbus Dispatch photographer Shannon, who said that he got photos of Tina and the phone by looking away and taking a photo when he saw movement in the corner of his eye. As Shannon put it, according to the UPI, "I decided I would outfox the force." 

In the photo, the phone is indeed flying, but it also appears that Christina could've thrown it herself. 

Then, evidence emerged that would officially debunk the haunting. The camera crews for WTVN-TV in Cincinnati were smart enough to leave cameras rolling as they packed up their belongings, according to UPI

"When the video tape was examined later it showed Tina waiting until no one was watching and then she reached up and pulled a table-lamp toward herself, simultaneously jumping away and making a series of bleating noises as she acted terrified," the outlet reported. 

Randi and Kurtz declared the events were nothing more than a hoax, but parapsychologist Bill Roll was convinced of Christina's telekinetic powers and studied the teen. According to ChristinaBoyer.org, Roll even took Christina to his home in North Carolina to continue his studies of her purported powers. He appeared alongside the teen in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, as well.

The Death of Amber Bennett

Christina's supposed paranormal encounters faded in people's memory but were brought back into the spotlight when her 3-year-old daughter died. 

Christina's daughter, Amber Gail Bennett, was born in September 1988, when she was 19 years old. At the time, Christina was separated from husband James Bennett and the child's paternity was still in question, but the baby still took his surname. 

Separated from her husband, who was allegedly abusive, and raising Amber on her own, Christina struggled to make ends meet. So, after a brief and tumultuous second marriage, Christina relocated to Carollton, Georgia, where Bill Roll and another parapsychologist, Jeannie Lagle, offered support to the single mother. 

"I was actually proud of myself. I was on my own for the most part. I had gotten us away from my ex-husband and I was making it. I had begun taking parenting classes at the local tech college and begun classes to brush up on my math skills. I thought I was doing alright," Christina told ChristinaBoyer.org

She eventually met David Herrin, a Carroll County local and single father who offered to help with daycare. His daughter, Ashley, was around the same age as Amber, giving the 3-year-old someone else to play with, ChristinaBoyer.org explained. 

This arrangement was perfect for Christina, as she needed someone to care for Amber while she was at work. But over time, she noticed that Amber was coming home with more and more bruises and scratches.  

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This wasn't particularly alarming to Christina, who told Dutch photographer Jan Banning in an interview for The Advocate, "[Amber] was the kind of kid that would stick something in an electrical socket if you didn’t block it up, just to see what would happen." 

On April 6, 1992, Amber suddenly died. According to the Rome News-Tribune, police determined Amber had died "as the result of child abuse." 

Christina wasn't watching Amber at the time of her death. She had gone to work on April 6, leaving Amber in Herrin's care for six hours, according to The Advocate. When she arrived to pick up the child, Herrin reportedly told her that Amber wouldn't wake up. 

"At that point, I jumped out of the car, ran to her room and she was lying there under the covers. She had a foul odor to her mouth. I put my head to her chest but I heard and felt nothing," Christina recalled. "I yanked the covers, scooped her up and ran for the car screaming, 'She’s not breathing, drive!'" 

Amber was declared dead at the hospital, where Christina was immediately arrested and taken into custody on charges of child abuse. Though she denied the allegations, authorities said they had evidence that she had beaten Amber, according to The Advocate

Christina Boyer Enters Alford Plea

Then, just as she was due to face trial on charges of murder and child abuse, Christina entered an Alford plea to murder in exchange for the death penalty being taken off the table, according to the Rome News Tribune.  

Though Christina maintained her innocence, she said, per the Rome News Tribune, "I'm not guilty of beating [Amber]. I'm guilty of not taking her to the hospital." 

Herrin later faced trial on charges of murder and child abuse. Following testimony from Christina and medical experts, a jury acquitted him of murder and found him guilty of child abuse. He was sentenced to life in prison and was released on parole in 2011, according to The Advocate.  

Though Christina has been denied parole multiple times since her incarceration, she remains hopeful that she will be released one day. "I refuse to let this situation or prison define who I am... I will make it through this and see the other side and one day have a life," she wrote on ChristinaBoyer.org.

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