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Fetal Kidnapping: The Extraction of a Fetus from a Pregnant Woman

By Vernon J. Geberth, M.S., M.P.S. 
Homicide and Forensic Consultant

©2015 Vernon J. Geberth, Practical Homicide Investigation 5th Edition
Originally published by PI Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 5 October, 2015 pp 42-48

Under the title, Fetal Kidnapping: The Extraction of a Fetus from a Pregnant Woman

 

Corrected Text 12/30/2015

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Murders of pregnant women to obtain their unborn babies are brutal and savage crimes. The offender literally cuts the fetus from the victim mother’s womb in a bizarre replication of a Cesarean section procedure. This type of homicide is statistically rare, but not without precedent. In an article published in 2002 by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences entitled, “Newborn Kidnapping by Cesarean Section,”[1] Burgess et al. present six cases as reference in the clinical identification of a new category of personal cause homicide for The Crime Classification Manual.

 

Table #1 lists the sixteen cases referenced in this article with a brief synopsis on each case to demonstrate the similarities as well as the dissimilarities.

 TABLE 1

No

Perpetrator

Victim

Date

City/State

1

Darcie Pierce WF, 19

Cindy Ray

7/23/1987

Albuquerque, NM

2

Jacqueline Williams, BF, 28

Fedell Cafev, BM 22, coconspirator

(And her Two Children)

Lavern Ward, BM, 24, coconspirator

Deborah Evans, WF 28

 

 

Debra Evans, WF, 10

Joshua Evans, WM, 7

11/16/1995

Addison, IL

 

DuPage County

3

Felicia Scott BF, 29

Carenthia Curry; BF, 17

1/31/1996

Tuscaloosa, AL

4

Josephina Saldana, HF, 40

Margaritia Flores, HF, 40

9/14/1998

Fresno, CA

5

Michelle Bica, WF, 39

Theresa Andrews, WF, 23

9/27/2000

Ravenna, OH

6

Effie Goodson, WF, 37

Carolyn Simpson, WF 21

12/22/2003

Okemah, OK

7

Lisa Montgomery; WF, 36

Bobbie Jo Stinnett, WF, 23

12/16/2004

Skidmore, MO

8

Katie Smith, WF, 22

(Killed by victim mother)

Sarah Brach; WF, 26

2/10/2005

Ft. Mitchell, KY

9

9. Peggy Jo Conner, WF, 38

(Offender Arrested)

Valerie Oskin, WF, 30

10/12/2005

Kittanning, PA

10

Tiffany Hall, BF, 24




Jimilla Tunstall, BF, 23

(And her Three Children)

DeMond Tunstall, 7

Ivan Tunstall-Collins, 2

Jinella Tunstall, 1

9/23/2006

East St. Louis, IL

11

Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong, Laotian F, 33

Araceli Camaho Gomez, HF, 27

 

6/27/2008

Pasco, WA

12

Andrea Curry-Demus, BF 38

Kia Johnson, BF, 18

7/15/2008

Wilkinsburg, PA

13

Korena Roberts, WF, 27

Heather Snively; WF, 21

6/5/2009

Cedar Hills, OR

14

Julie Corey, WF, 39

Darlene Haynes, WF, 23

7/27/2009

Worchester, MA

15

Kathy Michelle Coy, WF, 33

Jamie Stice, WF, 21

4/13/2011

Bowling Green, KY

16

Annette Morales-Rodriguez, FH,33

Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, FH,23

10/16/2011

Milwaukee, WI

Color Code: Yellow Homicide Theft of Fetus    Red Homicide Co-conspirators    Orange Attempted Theft of Fetus

 

The author prefers not to use the clinical term Cesarean section because it connotes a medical procedure as opposed to the depravity and evil demonstrated by offenders who kill a victim mother for her unborn child. A Cesarean section is a surgical procedure in which the abdomen and uterus are incised and a baby is delivered transabdominally.[2] The procedure is normally performed when conditions exist in which a vaginal delivery might be hazardous to the mother and/or infant.  The well-being of mother and child is taken into consideration during a Cesarean section. Obviously, an offender who commits such a reprehensible crime is not concerned about the victim mother.

 

According to Cathy Nahirny, administrative manager at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “Cesarean kidnappings represent a small fraction of the 232 infant abductions by nonfamily members since 1983 according to the center’s records.”[3] Nahirny provided the author with a listing entitled, “Infant Abductions Where Infant Cut from Mother’s Womb,” which listed seven homicides and one theft of an infant after birth.

 

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nine attacks on pregnant women had taken place since 1987. Presently, the author has identified sixteen cases of Theft of Fetus as of 2011. (See Table 1) There have been at least three assaults on an expectant mother for her child since 2003. Fourteen of the sixteen pregnant women were murdered during the attack.

 

Infant Abductions — Infant Cut from Mother’s Womb

The author based this study on fourteen documented cases of homicide in which the offenders killed a pregnant woman, described as a victim mother, for the purpose of obtaining the victim mother’s fetus. Also included are two attempted thefts of a fetus in which the victim mother survived. These are included in addition to the fourteen homicides in Table 1 for a total of sixteen cases.

 

Investigative Assessment and Analysis

The Offender Profiles

In each of the fourteen homicides as well as the two attempted murder cases, the primary offender was a female 19 to 40 years of age acting alone. The exception was Case 2 involving Jacqueline Williams, who was accompanied by her boyfriend and male cousin, who assisted in the murders. In four of the sixteen cases the baby was killed during the attempted theft.

 

All of the offenders had faked their pregnancies, convincing family and friends that they were about to give birth. Four of the women were unable to conceive, two offenders had had hysterectomies, and one offender had had tubal ligations. The offenders, who had put on weight, had dressed in maternity clothing. Some of the offenders had made preparations for their “newborn,” including setting up nurseries, visiting the hospital, and showing “their” sonograms.

 

The offenders had preselected and stalked their victims. Stalking incidents indicate obsessions on the part of the offenders, manifested through a persistent and intense preoccupation with the victim or target.

 

Historically, stalkers are usually male offenders known to the victim and, in most instances, involve former lovers, boyfriends, or spouses. However, it should be noted that some stalkers are complete strangers to the target. These stalkers can be men or women. In cases such as these, the stalker is invariably a woman with a fixation on obtaining the victim mother’s baby.

 

In some cases, the offenders had met the victim mother through casual introduction, engaging the victim by befriending her or offering advice, assistance, and/or gifts. The offenders were able to manipulate their victims by conning them until they were ready to attack. The exception was Darcie Pierce, who was desperate and “overdue” in her faked pregnancy. She confronted her victim at gunpoint (fake gun) to abduct her and steal the fetus. Although she had surgical instruments at home, she could not take the victim mother there because her husband was at home. She used her car keys to open the victim mother’s abdomen to extract the fetus.

 

Nine of the fourteen offenders went to their respective victims’ homes to initiate the homicide. Six of the offenders took the victim mother to an isolated location. In Case 5, the offender was able to con the victim mother back to the offender’s home to be killed. In Case 8 (an attempt case), the offender even had the surgical tools ready to extract the woman’s fetus. In Case 9, the offender went to the victim’s trailer home to initiate the crime and then transported the victim to a rural location. Fourteen of the sixteen victim mothers were killed before the fetus was cut from the womb. One victim was left to bleed to death. In two of the cases Debra Evans and Jimilla Tunstall the victim mothers had their other children killed as well.

 

Twelve of the sixteen babies survived. Four of the offenders who claimed to have given birth brought the three dead fetuses to the hospital. One of the infants was of approximately 6 months’ gestation. In the two attempt cases, the babies survived, even though in Case 9 the offender had already cut open the victim’s abdomen. A Cesarean procedure was performed at the hospital and both mother and child were saved.

 

Offender Motive

In thirteen of the sixteen cases that I reviewed, the primary motivation underlying these murderous acts were to sustain a relationship with a male partner by providing him with a child. Twelve of the women had convinced their significant others that they were pregnant. In Case 4 and 15, the motive is not clear. In Case 8 (attempt), it appears that the offender was just obsessed with becoming a mother. The offender did not have a significant male in her life; she had convinced family, friends, and coworkers that she was about to give birth. She carried around a book filled with snapshots of her looking pregnant. She had a nursery stocked with baby items and a hospital bag packed and ready as if she were about to deliver a child. In Case 9 the offender had convinced her male companion that she was in fact pregnant and had shown him sonograms.

 

Burgess et al. propose that another motivation is to fulfill a childbearing and delivery fantasy. “The female abductors, in essence, become a mother by proxy by acting out a fantasy of them delivering a baby.” Burgess et al. present that the abductors in their six-case study “decided to do something physical to get the baby.”[4]

 

From an investigative standpoint, this suggests that the motivation involves some significant planning and preparation. The cases that I have cited here clearly represent organized and criminal behavior. The psychopathology of these offenders may very well encompass some form of delusional thinking but not to the point of insanity. The women offenders in this study were fully conscious of their actions and intentions. They chose to kill the victim mother for her unborn child to fulfill a narcissistic need. The offenders then disposed of the victim mother to effectively cover up their crime and avoid detection. In my opinion, this psychopathology is more consistent with psychopathy than psychosis.

 

Abduction Investigative Strategies

Police Response

The initial police response to a report of a missing pregnant woman must include immediate notification to detectives and an APB broadcast description of the victim mother. Research on this type of offense indicates that the offender will most likely accomplish this crime within less than 2 hours of the abduction. In fact, the author recommends an Amber Alert type of response, which will actively inform the media and the community of this event. An attempt should be made to obtain assistance from federal authorities early in the investigation.

 

Detective Response

Detectives should immediately begin a neighborhood canvass to ascertain whether the victim mother had been seen in the company of another pregnant women. In most of these cases, the offender has initiated some sort of casual relationship with her potential target. It is not unlikely that the offender has visited or interacted with the victim mother on prior occasions. The canvass may provide the investigators with offender descriptions, license plate numbers, and other identification information. An attempt should be made to obtain assistance from federal authorities early in the investigation.

 

Additional Information

The value of transmitting this information in an Amber Alert format is that people who may have had suspicions about a friend or neighbor purporting to be pregnant and would not have thought of notifying the police might now have a different frame of reference. In the cases that I reviewed, there was always someone (usually another woman) who had expressed doubt about the offender’s alleged pregnancy or the sudden appearance of a newborn. Interviews with investigators who had been involved with these types of cases validate this assumption.

In ten of the cases, (Cases 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14), the offenders disposed of or hid the body of the victim mother. In five cases (Cases 2, 7, 10, 15 and16), the body was left at the scene. In the four cases where the body was disposed of or hidden, the offenders showed up at a hospital. Six offenders (Cases 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, and 16) arrived with the dead fetuses, claiming to have given birth. The other offender (Case 1) showed up at the hospital with a live baby for assessment. In the two attempts (Cases 8 and 9) we don’t know what the final disposition of the victim’s body would have been because the crimes were interrupted before the murders and thefts of the fetus could be completed.

 

Subsequent hospital examination revealed that the offender women had not given birth. Authorities were notified and the offenders were arrested. The live child was properly identified through DNA and returned to the biological father. The bodies of the three victims were recovered during the criminal investigation.

 

Four of the offenders (Cases 3, 5, 10, and 14) continued the charade until police investigators caught up with them. Offender Scott managed to elude authorities for 8 days as she presented the baby as her own. She was arrested and the baby was returned to the victim mother’s family. Offender Bica “played” mother for 5 days, during which time she showed off her new baby to friends and neighbors. Bica shot herself when the authorities came to her residence to arrest her. The newborn was reunited with the biological father after DNA testing.

Summary

These crimes are unimaginably evil. They devastate the surviving families of the victim mother and horrify the general public. In my opinion, the infants that do survive such a traumatic birth are truly miracle babies. However, these cases are not without precedent. There are unique behavioral profiles to these offenders. I have provided here examples of their motivations, manipulations, and preparation for their crimes, including victim selection and modus operandi, to serve as a frame of reference in the investigation of these types of incidents.

 

Vernon J Geberth, MS., MRS., a homicide and forensic consultant with PHI. Investigative Consultants Inc. in New York, is a nationally renowned lecturer, author, educator, consultant and expert witness on the subject of death investigations. He has contributed to several issues of PI Magazine. The copyrighted materials of this article are excerpted from the New and Revised Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures and Forensic Techniques 5th Edition, published in 2015.

 

 

CASE #1:  INFANT ABDUCTIONS WHERE INFANT WAS CUT FROM MOTHER’S WOMB

PERPETRATOR: DARCIE PIERCE, White, Female, 19 years old        Date of Homicide: 7/23/1987     City and State: Albuquerque, New Mexico
VICTIM: CINDY RAY                                                                                         CHILD: Amelia Ray                           LOCATION: Outside Clinic
MOTIVE: Offender was unable to conceive. She was faking pregnancy. Had previously faked pregnancy.  Was in an overdue state and needed to produce a child.
METHOD: Threatened victim with a fake gun. Strangled her in unconsciousness and then used her car keys to remove child from womb.

        The married offender approached an eight months pregnant woman named Cindy Ray as she left a prenatal clinic at Kirkland Air Force Base. The offender threatened the victim with a toy gun forced her into a car and drove to her home where she had surgical instruments and medical books. However, the suspect’s husband was at the house. The offender then drove Ray to an isolated location where she strangled the mother into unconsciousness. Pierce tied Cindy Ray to a tree and cut open the victim’s abdomen with her car keys and delivered a baby girl. She left the victim to bleed to death. She was arrested after she reported that she had delivered a baby. She was taken to a local hospital where an examination revealed that she had not delivered a baby and authorities were notified.

 

CASE #2
PERPETRATORS: JACQUELINE WILLIAMS, Black, Female, 28, FEDELL CAFFEY, Black, Male, 22, LaVERN WARD, Black, Male, 24        Date of Homicide: 11/16/1995           City and State: Addison, Illinois
VICTIMS: DEBRA EVANS, White, Female, 28, SAMANTHA EVANS, White, Female, 10, JOSHUA EVANS, White, Male 7               CHILD: Elijah Evans                  LOCATION: Victim’s Apartment
MOTIVE: Offender had been faking pregnancy to coincide with the victim’s pregnancy. Her boyfriend wanted a light-skinned child. Offender was acquainted with victim mother and knew her to be pregnant with a mixed-race child. Offender had a baby shower at a relative’s house.

METHOD: Shot victim in head. Used a pair of scissors or knife to remove child.

Jacqueline Williams, her boyfriend Fedell Caffey, and her cousin Lavern Ward went to the victim mother’s apartment. The victim mother was the ex-girlfriend of one of the abductors (Ward). She had already had a child by him named Jordan, age 19 months old. According to statements made by Williams, Caffey shot the victim mother in the head, Caffey and Ward then stabbed her 10 yr old daughter Samantha to death, proceeded to stab the victim mother. The three assailants then participated in a crude caesarean section (with either scissors or a knife) and removed the child from his mother’s womb. They cleaned up the baby, and took that child, plus Joshua, the 7-yr old son of the victim mother, and left the home. They left 19-month old Jordan at the apartment with the bodies of his mother and sister. Although Joshua was originally spared when his mom and sister were butchered in their apartment, his abductors decided he knew too much and had to die. They first tried poisoning him with Iodine. When that didn’t work they strangled him. He was then stabbed to death. They then dumped his body 10 miles from the scene of the original crime.   People from the community who were outraged by the crime, came forward and identified Jacqueline Williams and her associates as those being responsible. The baby was recovered alive and well in Williams’s apartment.

 

This photo depicts the victim’s abdomen. She had been shot in the back of her head. She suffered multiple stabbings into the neck with stab and incised wounds. The victim also had defensive wounds on her hands and arms. In addition there was a foot long gash across her abdomen from where the perpetrators removed the fetus. (Courtesy of Pete Siekmann, Coroner Du Page County Illinois)

 

 

This photo illustrates an enlarged uterus win part or the placenta and the umbilical cord still attached. The fetus was literally ripped from the mother’s womb after her abdomen was sliced open. (Courtesy of Pete Siekmnann, Coroner Du Page County Illinois)

 

 

 

CASE #3
PERPETRATOR:
FELICIA SCOTT, Black, Female, 29 years old                           Date of Homicide: 1/31/1996                     City and State: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
VICTIM: CARENTHIA CURRY Black, Female, 17 years old                                                 CHILD: Kristy Nicole Curry                    LOCATION: Victim’s Home
MOTIVE: Offender wanted to give her common-law husband a baby She had a hysterectomy two years prior. She was faking pregnancy and had told her husband and family that she was pregnant.
METHOD: Victim mother shot in head abdomen sliced open. Body disposed of at the bottom of a ravine stuffed into plastic garbage bags.

        Felicia Scott initiated the abduction at the victim’s home. Scott and the victim mother were friends. The victim mother and the abductor had plans to go out to dinner at approximately 6:00 p.m. on January 31, 1996. When the victim mother did not return home by the next da,y the family reported her as missing on February 1. The abductor returned home in the early morning hours of 2/1/96 and told her husband that she had had her baby and that she needed to get to Birmingham to see her doctor. On 3/14/96, the victim mother’s body was located at the bottom of a 50-foot ravine approximately 60 miles northwest of Tuscaloosa, near Birmingham, stuffed into a plastic garbage can sealed with duct tape. The victim mother’s abdomen had been sliced open and she had been shot repeatedly in the head.

 

CASE #4
PERPETRATOR:
JOSEPHINA SONIA SALDANA, Hispanic, Female, 40 years old        Date of Homicide: 9/14/1998     City and State: Fresno, California
VICTIM: MARGARTA FLORES, 40 years old                                                                            CHILD: Doraelia Flores                   LOCATION: Taken from victim’s home
MOTIVE: Claimed she had a miscarriage. However she was sterile.
METHOD: Mother’s body was found cutup in pieces found in the trash in Tijuana, Mexico.

        Saldana abducted the victim mother from her home. Saldana had called the victim mother a few days earlier and offered her family gifts of free baby furniture and a 1-year supply of diapers. The woman went to the victim’s on the day of the abduction and told the victim mother that they needed to go to the warehouse to collect the gifts. The victim mother was 8 1/2 months pregnant with her 6th child. When the victim mother did not return by 3:00 pm, the family called the police. The next day, 9/15/98, Saldana showed up at Valley Children’s Hospital with a dead fetus. She claimed she had given birth to the child in her car. She was subsequently arrested and found guilty.  While in prison she hung herself.

 

CASE #5
PERPETRATOR: MICHELLE BICA,
White, Female, 39 years old                        Date of Homicide: 2/27/2000                     City and State: Ravenna, Ohio
VICTIM: TERESA ANDREWS, 23 years old                                                               CHILD: Oscar Gavin Andrews                      LOCATION: The offender’s home
MOTIVE: Offender
was faking pregnancy and had convinced her husband and family that she was pregnant. She had a miscarriage in 1999.
METHOD: Offender shot victim mother in back. Cuts open her abdomen
with a large knife and removed the fetus. Buried body in garage.

        Michelle Bica and her husband Tom, had casually met the victim mother and her husband while the two couples were shopping at a local Walmart and had exchanged home addresses. Michelle Bica, who was faking her pregnancy, then began stalking Teresa. The Andrews were selling their Jeep and had placed a For-Sale sign on the car. Michelle Bica called the Andrews home about 9:00 AM and made an appointment to see the car. She did not identify herself. Teresa called her husband and told him that someone was coming to see the car. Somehow; Michelle Rica conned the pregnant mother to leave her home and accompany Michelle back to her residence. At the Bica residence, Teresa was shot and killed and her fetus removed by Bica. The victim mother had been due to deliver her infant in the next few days. The victim’s husband called home around lunch time and did not get an answer. When he arrived home later that afternoon, he discovered that his wife was not home, the car was missing and the house was unlocked. He called the police and filed a missing person report. Police responded to the home, interviewed the husband and sent out an APB for the missing Jeep. They located the vehicle a few blocks away. The husband was later polygraphed as part of their investigation and passed. Investigators determined that one of the phone calls made to the residence that day was from a home approximately four blocks away. They proceeded to that location to interview the residents. The officers met a nervous Michelle Bica who told them that she had recently given birth. Michelle Bica then provided an extensive alibi, which quickly fell apart. When the police returned to the Bica residence the suspect shot herself in the mouth. The, police learned that the suspect had ordered a large quantity of gravel for the driveway and garage. lnvestigators searched the driveway and found a trail of blood leading from the house to the garage. Inside the garage there was evidence of a recent excavation. In the garage under the car was a shallow grave where the body of Teresa Andrews had been buried.

 

(Courtesy of Chief Randall McCoy and Detective Sergeant Bob Cooper, Ravenna, Ohio Police Department)

CASE #6
PERPETRATOR: EFFIE GOODSON, White, Female, 373-ears old                    Date of Homicide: 12/22/2003                   City and State: Okemah, Oklahoma                          
VICTIM: CAROLYN SIMPSON White, Female, 21 years old                              CHILD: Baby Boy Simpson                            LOCATION: Offered victim mother a ride from the casino. Unknown
MOTIVE: Offender was faking pregnancy. Had told her husband, family and friends she was pregnant with a baby boy due in October 2003. She then provided a number of explanations why she had not yet delivered by the October due date. Had a baby shower and prepared a room with items for a newborn
METHOD: Victim mother had been shot in the head. Her abdomen had been sliced open with an unknown instrument

        Effie Goodson was a patron of the casino where the victim mother was employed. They had been introduced to each other by a mutual acquaintance about one month prior to the incident On the night of 12/22/03, video cameras at the casino captured the image of the victim mother and the suspect departing the building at approximately 11:00 PM. Apparently the abductor had offered to give the victim mother a ride home and also provide her with some baby clothes for a girl since the offender was “expecting a boy child”. The victim mother never arrived home from work and her husband reported her as missing on 12/23/03. At approximately 4:00 AM on 12/23/03, the suspect and her husband arrived by ambulance at the Emergency Department of Holdenville General Hospital (no birthing unit at this hospital) with a very small, unresponsive infant Staff determined that the infant (approximately 6 months gestation) was deceased. The medical status of the alleged mother proved that she had not recently delivered a baby and law enforcement was notified.

        The victim’s body was recovered on Friday; 12/26/2003 by hunters found the victim’s body in a ditch about 20 miles south of Okemait (This location is approximately 2 miles from where the abductor used to live) The victim mother had been shot once in the head (small caliber) and her abdomen had been cut open with an undetermined sharp object. Investigation revealed that Effie Goodsen reportedly was jealous of her stepdaughter who had given birth recently and wanted to have her own baby, She was later found incompetent to stand trial.

 

CASE #7
PERPETRATOR:
LISA MONTGOMERY White Female, 36 years old                                Date of Homicide: 12/16/2004                   City and State: Skidmore, Missouri
VICTIM: BOBBIE JO
STINNETF White Female, 23 years old                             CHILD: Victoria Jo Stinnett                           LOCATION: Victim’s home
MOTIVE: Offender had told her husband and others that she was pregnant with twins. Ex-husband reported that she had a tubal ligation 14 years earlier.
METHOD: Strangled the victim mother and then cut the fetus from her womb.

        The abductor took the baby from the victim’s home. The victim mother was 8 months pregnant at the time of the incident. She and her husband bred rat terrier dogs and had a website. At approximately 2:30 PM the victim mother cut short a telephone call with her mother indicating that the person she was expecting (to buy a dog) was at her door. Her mother arrived at her daughter’s home about 1 hour later and found the victim mother lying in a pool of blood, the fetus cut from her womb. Multiple law enforcement agencies worked on the case and the victim’s computer was carefully examined. Investigators were able to trace some email communications the victim had with the abductor. The female abductor eventually confessed to strangling the victim mother and cutting the baby from her womb. The abductor and victim mother were casual acquaintances and both attended the same dog show in April 2004, in Abilene, TX.

CASE #8:  ATTEMPT THEFT OF FETUS - OFFENDER KILLED BY VICTIM MOTHER
PERPETRATOR
: KATIE SMITH, White, Female, 22 years old            Attempt Homicide: 2/10/2005                                   City and State: Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky
VICTIM:
SARAH BRADY White Female, 26 years old                          CHILD: McKaila Grace Hatton born 3/16/05          LOCATION: Offender’s apartment
MOTIVE:  Offender had faked her pregnancy. She had a hospital bag packed and ready as if she was going to deliver. She wore maternity clothing.
METHOD:  Attempted to stab the victim mother, who fought back.  Kate Smith had lured the victim mother to Smith’s apartment on the pretense of giving her a baby present from Baby’s R Us registry online that had been mistakenly delivered to the Smith residence in Ft. Mitchell. The apartment was outfitted with surgical tools and a fully stocked nursery. Smith attacked the victim mother in an attempt to extract her unborn child by cesarean section. The woman fought back and fatally stabbed her attacker.

CASE #9:  ATTEMPT THEFT OF FETUS - OFFENDER ARRESTED
PERPETRATOR:
PEGGYJO CONNER, White, Female, 38 years old                                 Attempt Homicide: 10/12/2005                                                 City and State: Kittanning, Pennsylvania
VICTIM: VALERIE OSKIN Whites, Female, 30 years old                                     CHILD: Unnamed at time of incident born 10/12/05                 LOCATION: Victim’s Trailer Home.
MOTIVE: Offender had faked her pregnancy She also had shown her live-in a sonogram and convinced him she was pregnant.
METHOD: Hit victim over head with baseball bat and was prepared to remove fetus by cutting across the victim’s abdomen with a razor knife.

        Peggy Jo Conner, who had purported to be pregnant, bashed her eight-month pregnant neighbor Valene Oskin over the head with a baseball bat. She then put the badly beaten Oskin in her car along with Oskin’s seven-year-old son. She dropped the boy off at a relative’s house and drove the victim 15 miles to a remote wooded area. The victim had been cut across her abdomen over an old Caesarean scar with a razor knife. A teenager who came upon the scene saw Conner kneeling next to the pregnant victim who was lying on the ground. Conner told the boy that everything was all right and they did not need any help. The boy informed his father and the police were called. Investigators found a bassinet, a baby swing and other baby related items in Conner’s trailer home. Conner had convinced her live-in partner that she was pregnant even showing him a sonogram.

 

CASE #10
PERPETRATOR: TIFFANY HALL, Black female, 24 years old
Date of homicide: 9/23/2006? (arrest date)                                                                         City and State: East St. Louis, Illinois
VICTIM: JIMILLA TUNSTALL, Black, female, 23 years old + three children                                CHILD: Baby Tunstall
LOCATION: The victim and her children were slain in their home by Tiffany Hall, a family friend who cut the victim up in her own bathroom.
MOTIVE: Suspect wanted a baby
METHOD: Tiffany Hall, a 24-year-old mother of two, had secretly been planning to steal the child for some time. Hall had purchased supplies including a nasal aspirator, rubbing alcohol, and a sharp implement for cutting flesh in early September. Tunstall ended up in her own bathtub, where Hall cut her open to remove the fetus. This location was apparently chosen so that the blood would safely drain away. The child did not survive, and Hall, for reasons unknown, wanted to claim it as her own instead of disposing of the body. Hall told police officers that she had given birth prematurely after being sexually assaulted and that the child had died. They filed the report, but when the officers suggested she go to a hospital to be examined she refused.

        On September 18, she went to the home of the man who was the father of two of Tunstall’s children and also caring for the third. She told him that Tunstall had told her to pick up the kids. The man knew Hall and trusted her, so he let them leave together. He never saw the children again.  Hall drowned DeMond Tunstall, 7, Ivan Tunstall-Collins, 2, and Jinella Tunstall, in the same bathtub where she had earlier performed amateur surgery on their mother. It was unknown if she was lashing out against them or if she believed they were better off dead now that their mother was gone. After the deed was done, she hid the bodies in the washer and dryer of Tunstall’s home.

        On Sept. 21 the funeral for the infant Hall was still claiming to have been hers was held. Her boyfriend, on leave from the military, was present. This is where the series of lies she had been telling fell apart. Hall admitted to her boyfriend that he was not the father of the child, and, indeed, that she had killed the true mother. He called the police, who arrested Hall and recovered the hidden bodies.

 

CASE #11
PERPETRATOR: PHIENGCHAI SISOUVANH SYNHAVONG, Laotian female, 33 years old      Date of Homicide: 6/27/2008             City and State: Pasco, Washington                  

VICTIM: ARACELI CAMARO GOMEZ, Hispanic, Female, 27 years old                                          CHILD: Baby Boy                                       LOCATION: Kennewick’s Columbia Park

MOTIVE: Her boyfriend had married her when she said she was pregnant. She wasn’t.
METHOD: Svnhavong met Araceli Comacho at a bus stop and told her she was also pregnant. Synhavong befriended Gomez and promised her free baby clothes, then showed up at her home and kidnapped her. Prosecutors say Svnhavong then tied Gomez’s hand and feet with yarn and put a gag in her mouth. Then armed with a craft- style box cutter, she cut the male fetus from Gomez’s womb and stabbed her multiple times in the chest. Gomez died from the attack and her attacker discarded her body at Kennewick’s Columbia Park. Later that evening, at around 11 p.m. Svnhavong contacted 9-1-1 saying she was at a JC Penney parking lot and had just given birth to a baby in her car, but that the baby might be dead. Synhavong, who was dressed in just a shirt, was found holding onto part of an umbilical cord. The back seat of the car was covered in blood and human tissue. Police also found in her purse a box-cutter, blood soaked gloves, paper towels, yarn, a mucus bulb, a pair of baby socks and a bottle.
        Synhavong and the baby were taken to the hospital. During her examination it was determined that she had not given birth to the newborn hot Gomez’s butchered body was found at the park the following morning by police.  After an extensive hospital stay the child was returned to his father. He may suffer from possible brain damage because of the lack of oxygen and not receiving medical treatment immediately after being cut from his mother’s womb. The extent of this damage is unknown.

 

CASE #12
PERPETRATOR
: ANDREA CURRY-DEMUS, Black, Female, 38 years old                       Date of Homicide: 7/15/2008.                                                                                    City and State: Wilkinsburg, PA
VICTIM: KIA JOHNSON, Black, Female, 18 years old                                                          CHILD: Baby boy, Terrell Kian
Johnson, survived and is living with relatives.         LOCATION: Offender’s apartment
MOTIVE:
Faked pregnancy. Offender had positive urine pregnancy test, advised family she was pregnant. Offender then had blood test to confirm pregnant; which was negative and never advised family of the negative results.
METHOD: Lured victim to her apartment, drugged, bound wrists and feet with duct tape, cut baby from her uterus.

        In November 2007, Andrea Curry-Demus who believed she might be pregnant took a urine pregnancy test at her doctor’s office and yielded a positive result. Her doctor encouraged her to take a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. Immediately following the positive urine results, she began to tell family and friends she was pregnant. The results of the blood test revealed Curry-Demus was not pregnant, a fact she failed to share with anyone. She went so far as to put her name on another woman’s ultrasound, decorate a nursery and have a baby shower that her friends and family planned for her.

        At some point during her “pregnancy” she met Kia Johnson while both were visiting their significant others who were incarcerated in the Allegheny Jail. After an unspecified number of visits, Curry-Demus befriended Johnson and the women began discussing their pregnancies. 0n July 15, 2008, Curry-Demus invited Johnson back to her apartment with the promise of baby clothes. Once in the apartment, Curry-Demus drugged, bound Johnson at the hands and feet with duct tape, and then crudely cut the baby boy from Johnson. After she removed the baby from Johnson, she wrapped her in plastic bags, and a comforter, securing it with tape, and then hid the body in a small space behind the headboard of her bed.
        Curry-Demus called a family member to advise she had delivered a baby boy and was transported via EMS to a local hospital. Blood tests confirmed that Curry-Demus had not delivered a baby. Curry-Demus would later tell police and her mother she had purchased the baby from a crack-addict for $1,000.00. A short time later, neighbors of Curry-Demus would complain of a foul odor emitting from her apartment, which ultimately led to the discovery of Johnson.
This was not the first time Curry-Demus had stolen a baby ten years previously, she had stabbed a pregnant woman who was hospitalized. The next day Curry-Demus went to the hospital, stole a baby girl and attempted to pass her off as her own. That baby was recovered safely the day after the kidnapping.

 

CASE #13
PERPETRATOR: KORENA ROBERTS, White, Female, 27                                                     Date of homicide: 6/5/2009                                                        City and State: Cedar Hills, OR
VICTIM: HEATHER SNIVELY, White, Female, 21                                                                   CHILD: Baby boy deceased, John Stephen Popp, unknown COD      LOCATION: Offender’s home
MOTIVE: Obsessed with babies, told live-in boyfriend she was pregnant with twins.
METHOD: Victim went to offender’s residence to purchase baby clothes and was beaten with a police baton and the fetus cut from the uterus.

        Roberts told her boyfriend she was pregnant and did a lot of things most pregnant women would do. She took pre-natal vitamins, attended ultrasound appointments and even took mid-wife courses, but she was not pregnant. Roberts posted baby clothes for sale on Craigslist to lure a pregnant woman to her home, with the intention of killing the woman and taking the baby to claim as her own.

        Approximately one week prior to 6/5/09, Heather Snively came across the posting for baby clothes by Korena Roberts. The two women communicated during the week until they agreed upon a meeting time for Snively to visit Roberts home to pick up the baby clothes. Snively entered the residence, was then struck repeatedly with a collapsible police baton, and a small knife used to crudely cut her abdomen and remove the baby. Roberts then hid Snively’s body in a crawlspace under the kitchen, smeared blood on herself, got into the bathtub and called her boyfriend to say she needed him. When her boyfriend arrived, he discovered her sitting in the bathtub, covered in blood with a lifeless baby. He unsuccessfully attempted CPR, called 911 and had Roberts transported to the hospital. An examination of Roberts at the hospital revealed she had not delivered recently and she reportedly told her boyfriend she had done a “bad thing.” Law enforcement returned to Robert’s home to search it and discovered the victim’s body in the crawl space.

 

CASE #14
PERPETRATOR: JULIE COREY, White, female, 39 years old                              Date of Homicide: 7/27/2009                                                     City and State: Worchester, Massachusetts
VICTIM: DARLENE HAYNES, White, female, 23 years old                                                 CHILD: Baby                                                                                       LOCATION: Victim, who was eight months pregnant, was found in her apartment.
MOTIVE: Corey had lost her own child due to a miscarriage.
METHOD: The victim mother had been beaten and strangled with an electrical cord. Julie Corey and the victim had spent hours talking about their pregnancies and the names they would pick for their babies when born. Then Julie Corey had a miscarriage. But she pretended to still be pregnant. She planned to steal her friend’s unborn baby. Corey attacked her 8-month pregnant neighbor by beating and strangling her. She then cut open the victim’s abdomen and removed the fetus. She then bundled the body of the victim into a wardrobe closet. On the day of the killing, she said she was giving her friend Darlene a lift to a local supermarket, then later she rang to say her water had broken and a friend was taking her to hospital. A couple of hours afterwards she called him again, excitedly screaming down the phone: “We had a baby.” Corey and her then-boyfriend were found with the baby two days later at a homeless shelter in Plymouth, N.H. Corey went on the run when family members became suspicious. Corey claimed she had delivered the baby girl, who survived.

 

CASE #15
PERPETRATOR: KATHY MICHELLE COY, White, female, 33 years old                           Date of Homicide: 4/13/2011                             City and State: Bowling Green, Kentucky
VICTIM: JAMIE STICE,
White, female, 21 years old                                                            CHILD: Baby Boy                                                       LOCATION: Wooded area outside of Bowling Green

MOTIVE: She wanted a baby
METHOD: The victim mother had been subdued with a stun gun and then had her throat and wrists cut. She had been disemboweled. Kathy Coy who met the victim on Facebook, offered to Jamie Stice shopping for baby supplies Instead she took her to a wooded area where she used a stun gun to subdue her before the murder. She then disemboweled the victim to remove the baby. Coy also took the victim’s uterus, ovaries, and placenta with the umbilical cord still attached to the hospital along with the baby A doctor examined her and determined that she had not given birth. She then stated that she bought the baby. Investigators located two pregnant women on Coy’s Facebook page. Coy eventually led them to Stice’s body.

 

CASE #16
PERPETRATOR:
ANNETTE MORALES-RODRIGUEZ, Hispanic, Female, 33 years old                Date of Homicide: 10/16/11                        City and State: Milwaukee, WI
VICTIM:
MARJTZA RAMIREZ-CRUZ, Hispanic, 23 years old                                                              CHILD: Still born                                                LOCATION: Offender’s residence
MOTIVE: Faked pregnancy to
give boyfriend a baby when she could not have one of her own.
METHOD: Offender bludgeoned
victim with baseball bat, strangled her, duct taped hands and feet and cut baby from uterus.

        Morales-Rodriguez was unable to have children but wanted to give her boyfriend the son he desired. She had previously faked two pregnancies, miscarriages and was faking a third pregnancy. With her “due date” two weeks away; Morales-Rodriguez devised a plan to find a pregnant woman and take the baby from her and pass it off as her own. On October 15, 2011, Morales-Rodriguez drove around in search of a pregnant woman but was unable to locate one. On October 16, 2011, Morales-Rodriguez drove around again near a non-profit organization that provided healthcare to Hispanics in the community, and located Ramirez-Cruz. Morales-Rodriguez offered Ramirez-Cruz a ride home. Once in the car, Morales-Rodriguez told the victim she had to go home to change her shoes. Upon arriving at the residence, the victim followed the offender into the residence so she could use the restroom. When the victim emerged from the bathroom, she was struck with a baseball hat several times and ultimately manually strangled, her mouth, nose, hands and feet bound with duct tape and a plastic bag placed over her head. The offender then used an X-ACTO knife to cut the baby from the uterus. He was not breathing. She then cut the placenta out, dragged the mother’s body to the basement and placed her next to the water heater. The offender cleaned up some of the blood from upstairs and used some of the mother’s blood to spread on the inside of her thighs to make it appear as though she had delivered the stillborn herself.  She then called 911 and was transported to the hospital.
        An autopsy performed by The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the stillborn was not the product of a natural birth which prompted an examination of the offender that revealed she had not recently given birth. Police returned to the offender’s residence and discovered the victim in the basement exactly as the offender had left her.

 

 

 

 



[1] Burgess, A., T. Baker, C. Nahirny, and J. Rabun, Jr. “Newborn Kidnapping by Cesarean Section.” Journal of Forensic Science, July, 47(4), 2002.

 

[2] Mosby’s Medical & Nursing Dictionary, 2nd ed. St. Louis: The C.V. Mosby Company, 1986, p. 217.

 

[3] Nahirny, C. Telephone interview, April 19, 2005.

 

[4] Burgess, A., T. Baker, C. Nahirny, and J. Rabun, Jr. “Newborn Kidnapping by Cesarean Section.” Journal of Forensic Science, July, 47(4), 2002.