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In 2001, Andrea Yates drowned her five children in her home's bathtub. The children ranged in age from six months to seven years. In 2002, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She isn't the other mother to kill her own children. Filicide, the killing of one’s own child by the mother, happens daily in the United States, statistically speaking. There are roughly 500 cases a year, according to a 2014 study from Brown University. Here are five mothers convicted of killing children that were just barely born.
1. Tiona Rodriguez
Tiona Rodriguez of New York City was sentenced to 16 years in prison in February after being convicted of smothering her newborn son to death and then carrying his corpse around in a bag while shopping around Victoria’s Secret in 2013. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to manslaughter under extreme emotional disturbance. The mother told prosecutors that after she gave birth to the child at a friend's home, the New York Daily News reported. She was only 17 at the time.
After giving birth, she put the baby boy in a bag and went shopping. Rodriguez was arrested at Victoria’s Secret by a security guard who at first suspected she was shoplifting. When the guard searched Rodriguez's bag, he noticed a foul smell and saw the tiny body of a newborn baby, according to Pix11.
Before getting caught, the birth and killing apparently didn’t ruin Rodriguez’s appetite. According to her texts, she had plans to eat at IHOP. She reportedly sent a text to a friend expressing that she wanted to “take this s*** and dig a hole, put it somewhere, lol, then we go eat IHOP," according to the New York Daily News. A medical examiner said the baby died of homicidal asphyxiation.
2. Amber Craker
In January 2016, Amber Craker of Abilene, Texas was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murdering her newborn child in 2016, according to KRBC. Police said she killed her baby girl by stabbing her over the neck and chest, leaving a "small sharp-force injury on the upper left side of the back,” police said, according to the Abilene Reporter-News Reporter. She was 18 at the time.
Craker had originally claimed that the injuries happened after her hand slipped while trying to cut the baby’s umbilical cord.
3. Cassandra Norwood
Cassandra Norwood of Athens, Georgia was convicted in February 2018 of stabbing her newborn boy to death just minutes after she gave birth to him in her bedroom in 2012. She was 20 at the time. Her son’s body was discovered in a trash bag in the room. The little boy was stabbed in the neck 10 times and in his torso nine times, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. She was sentenced to life plus five years behind bars. Twice, she reportedly told police that she stabbed the baby accidentally while trying to cut the umbilical court.
4. Lindsey Lowe
Lindsey Lowe of Hendersonville, Tennessee, was handed two life sentences for killing the pair of newborn sons she gave birth to in 2011. She was convicted a year later of two counts of murder, according to USA Today. The mother, who was 25 years old when the twins died, won’t be eligible for parole until she is 77. Since her conviction she has attempted to seek a new trial, The Tennessean reported.
5. Megan Huntsman
Over a period of a decade, Megan Huntsman of Pleasant Grove, Utah, gave birth to six infants. She was convicted of killing of all of them.
All six were asphyxiated, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. In 2015, before she was sentenced, Huntsman’s defense attorney read a statement for her which said, "In some small way, I wanted to help them avoid the terrible life I would have given them. Deprived my little babies of the opportunity of life. […] Those babies aren't coming back, and they never will because of my actions." Huntsman, who was 40 when she was sentenced, was sentenced to life behind bars. The babies died between 1996 to 2006. It’s unclear how she concealed all the pregnancies. She blamed drugs for her actions.
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