Death on the ‘baby farm’
July 16, 2013 By
I am about to lead you, dear reader – should you choose to follow me as I tramp along the long and arduous path I have chosen for us – on a sightseeing tour of the very bowels of fierce and howling Hell. My intended purpose in this endeavor is to provide you with certain striking and little-known facts which, in my view, constitute necessary instruction for all persons who may in the future conceive a child.
Our infernal tour shall, most certainly, be an unpleasant one for you to undergo. Should you elect to join me I can assure that you shall come out of it not only in one piece, but that you shall also come out wiser – with a keener eye for spotting scammers, hoodlums and seductive propagandists, better prepared to defend the lives of those you love.
What you will learn is something you are not supposed to learn. You are about to enter the realm of forbidden knowledge.
• • • •
Baby farm – 1). a place that houses and takes care of babies for a fee. 2). a residence for unwed pregnant girls or women that also arranges adoptions. Origin: 1865–70 (dictionary.com)
• • • •
• The Baby Farmer: A type of serial killer
Psychology Today recently published a short, online-only, article “Life on the Baby Farm: Killing Kids for Cash,” by Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D., forensic psychologist and author of the blog “Female Serial Killers” (female-serial-killers.com). In her article Dr. Johnson offers a brief overview of the business of “baby farming” (a 19th-20th century term for fee-based offsite child care), describing the social and economic challenges that gave rise to this practice in Western culture.
Dr. Johnston selects for her discussion four cases of serial killer baby farmers who were prosecuted in England, the United States and Poland for killing children, usually, but not always, young babies, which they were paid to: a) care after temporarily, b) care for and then place in adoptive homes, or, as was common, c) murder the child, having been judged by the parent(s) to be an unmanageable or unwanted burden. Two of these cases resulted in the execution of the baby farmer.
Johnston’s “Life on the Baby Farm” article is, in my view, an informative introduction to the subject. I wish, however, to add to her commentary some remarkable details about the cases described which the author chose to leave out. The study of female serial killers by crime historians and criminologists is still in a primitive state. The absence of any systematic historical research of female serial killers has, until now, allowed many inaccurate stereotypes, assumptions and statistics about female serial killers to proliferate.
As I noted, Dr. Johnston’s Psychology Today article describes four cases, but the author makes reference to a single method of killing: starvation (or, “neglect”). The reader would naturally assume this single method was used by the four baby farmers under discussion, and implicitly that such a killing method would apply to most baby farmer serial killers. Yet, as you will see, this is most certainly not the case.
The fact is that these four women employed a number of other methods to kill as well: killing methods radically less passive in nature than “neglect.” My own research has turned up well over 100 baby farmer cases involving charges of murder (most of them involving series of killings). Those I have researched exhibit a broad range of murder methods, many of them horrible in their violence. Yet Dr. Johnston’s overview of the topic gives not the slightest hint that such a range exists.
We should keep in mind that the article appears on a website named “Female Serial Killers,” thus that particular sub-section of the topic of “baby farming” fatality is what is indeed under discussing in that text.
For those who wish to explore the subject of female serial killers, the study of serial killing baby farmers is of great importance. Yet it has not never been given much attention. I would argue that you cannot understand the phenomenon of the female psycho killer who repeatedly murders children, nor even, I would argue, the crime of infanticide in a more general sense, if the details of method and evidence of mentality of the killer are hidden from you.
The presentation that follows is long; it is overloaded with examples. But the overloading considered is, in my opinion, necessary. Most of the cases I introduce into the discussion are completely unknown, therefore I want them to be made available together in one place. The relentlessness of the tales of horror might feel overwhelming. To produce this unpleasant effect is a deliberate choice on my part as well.
The material is brutal and distressing and ought to be brought out into the open in a manner as blatant as possible. I refuse to soften the effect in any way. I will not white-wash.
• Two English Baby Farmers Hanged for Murder
In the most thorough published studies of serial killers it is customary for the author to include a few baby farmer cases, typically those from English-speaking countries, specifically those who were found guilty of murders and executed. Among these are two out of the four Dr. Johnston discusses: such as Englishwomen Margaret Waters (“The Brixton Baby Farmer”) and Amelia Dyer (“The Reading Baby Farmer”). They are among the most well-known of all serial killer baby farmer cases.
It was the death of a baby boy which led the 1870 prosecution and ultimate execution of baby farmer Margaret Waters. The child was named John Walter Cowan, illegitimate son of J. T. Cowan. Before he died Little John was found by a police sergeant still inside Waters’ “farm.” Here is what the sergeant saw:
“The child Cowen, such a fine, healthy child three weeks before, had scarcely a bit of flesh on its bones, could not cry, could hardly be wakened when it was asleep, and looked more like a shriveled-up monkey than a human being.”
Waters was hanged October 11, 1870 for the death of John Cowan but she was suspected of having murdered between 16-35 babies by starvation and/or poisoning with narcotics (with laudanum, an opiate) – or other means which were never determined (she had been observed removing living babies at night who were never seen again). Margaret Waters was hanged without having ever admitting to any wrongdoing.
Amelia Dyer, called sometimes “Britain’s worst serial killer ever,” went to the scaffold on June 10, 1896 and is credited with a dozen or so proven murders, yet she was suspected of the murders of hundreds of other babies. Her favored murder method (a detail not disclosed in the Psychology Today article) was to strangle the child with cotton edging tape (which the killer left in place) and afterwards she tossed the wrapped-up tiny corpses into a nearby canal. The murders were typically committed within hours of the murderess having received payment from women she had conned.
In the mid-1880s Dyer had served time for child abuse, but the event which finally brought her down was the murder of a baby whose mother, Evilina Marnon, had been promised would be adopted into a “good home.” After being caught again, this time “red-handed,” with no hope of escaping prosecution for murder, Amelia dryly informed to police – who were in the process of searching the canal waters for dead babies – “You’ll know all mine by the tape around their necks.” Dyer reasonably suspected babies other than those she deposited there herself might turn up as well.
Dr. Johnston’s article notes in discussing the deaths of babies while in the custody of a baby farmer that, in general, “hundreds of these babies died from neglect, either directly from malnutrition or from a secondary disease as a result of a weakened immune system.” Yet poisoning with laudanum and strangling with a thin strip of cotton are methods far from being reasonably categorized as neglect. Yet the Psychology Today article neglects to mention them.
• Skull Cracked in Half
The sole US case mentioned in Johnston’s article, that of immigrant Helen Geisen-Volk, a former German Red Cross Nurse, operating in New York City, is a case known to some historians specializing in the history of child care, yet the case has never been classified by a crime scholar as a serial killer case (preceding its appearance on The Unknown History of Misandry’s ongoing collection and collation of female serial killer cases, the vast majority of which are unknown to criminologists, crime historians and forensic psychologists).
In her article Dr. Johnston observes that newspapers from June 23, 1925 reported that Mrs. Geisen-Volk (who was convicted for “child substitution” but not any homicide) was sentenced to a mere 3 ½ to 7 years in June 1925. Johnston described the callousness of the baby farmer in her trial testimony. Johnston notes that: “According to the prosecutor, she had abused and murdered 53 babies at the time of her arrest; according to Mrs. Geisen-Volk, the death count was ‘only twelve or fourteen.’” The baby farmer’s dead-pan cynicism shocked everyone.
Baby farmer Geisen-Volk’s arrest was precipitated by her unsuccessful attempt to palm off a substitute baby to a couple who had placed their own son in her care and who had already died. This “substitution,” as it was called by the court, was the crime that got her a prison sentence. During sentencing he judge expressed his regret that he could not by law give her a longer term than 3 ½-to-7. No evidence that could meet the state’s high evidentiary standard was at hand that could prove the baby farmer had criminal intent in the huge number of deaths of children that had perished, sometimes quite violently, under her care.
Trial testimony did reveal, however, that Geisen-Volk’s treatment of children went beyond the common varieties of “neglect” murder used by baby farmers (heavy use of opiates, feeding with non-nutritional, or overtly harmful, formula). One trial witness, a woman, revealed the true cast of this baby farmer’s sentiment when she described violence one would ordinarily expect to be carried out only when no witness was present. Another witness, a nurse, reported that she once saw Geisen-Volk grip 18-month-old, Agnes Toohey, by the legs, and dash her against a wall. The child was dead a lay later. The nurse had, according to the District Attorney, “witnessed the assault on the baby, being at the place attending her own child, who also was ill.”
This disclosure, resulting from the original investigation of the missing child who had been “substituted,” included an examination of the corpses of several children who died under the baby farmer’s care. An autopsy of the disinterred corpse of a six-months-old boy, William Winters, who had died in the custody of Geisen-Volk revealed that the baby’s skull had been “cracked in half.” The fracture, the coroner said, extended from the back of the head to the front and “its suggested cause was violent contact with a flat, hard surface.”
This is another detail which did not find its way into the Psychology Today article. Nor was freezing a child to death, as a method, given any mention.
In a probation officer’s report submitted to the judge, Mrs. Geisen-Volk was described as a “conscienceless woman” who had “strangled or frozen to death or otherwise had disposed of babies left in her custody in order that she might reap a profit through her acts.” Helen Geisen-Volk – never convicted for a single homicide – appears to have been a dangerous sadist who delighted in inflicting physical injuries on the vulnerable in addition to being a prolific serial killer deserving of the attention of criminologists specializing in the study of serial killer psychology.
In summarizing the serial killing of children in her “baby farmer” article, Dr. Johnson uses the correct, yet vague, almost innocuous, to describe one of the more popular murder methods of baby farmers, noting that “these children were often neglected and given the minimal amount of care.” What, we might ask, does such “neglect” really look like?
One possible answer is offered visually in the 1906 photo of baby farm victim Frankie Heath you see here.
Another answer is offered in the following quote describing the neglect of a two-year-old girl by French midwife/baby farmer Madame Julien, France in 1867:
“On searching a cupboard about six feet long by four feet widow, a little girl about two years old was found lying on a heap of rotten straw covered by filth; the body was one mass of putrid sores; two toes of the left foot had dropped off, and the bones of the rest could be seen exposed through the decomposing flesh. One witness, who had lodged in the house for three days, proved that the child had not been once moved all that time, and that at last it had not sufficient strength to cry out.”
• Pork Babies in Poland
The fourth, and last, case in Johnston’s précis (yet the first case she mentions) is one whose description is taken from a scanty two sentence blurb from an 1890 newspaper that does not give the name of the baby farmer, merely noting that she was located in Warsaw. Her conviction for 76 murders was reported. The sentence of 3 years is justly noted by Dr. Johnston as surprisingly short.
Yet there is much more information on this case available if you go looking for it.
To be fair, it must be said that there is no thoroughly researched academic source available on the history of female serial killers, thus it would be necessary to employ key word searches (such as: “76 murders” + “baby farm” + “Warsaw” + “sentenced to three years” + “1890,” in various combinations) to get at the other, more detailed vintage news sources online. Aggressive keyword cross-referencing will indeed turn up the name as well as sensational details of the case.
Three articles on this important 1890 Polish serial killer case are collected on The Unknown History of Misandry. Frustratingly, the name is in different sources given with wildly differing spellings (as is common with eastern European names appearing in English language publications of the period). The varieties include: “Skoblinska,” “Skonblinska,” “Skublinski,” “Stysinski.” Out of all the variants I have settled upon as in my writing is Marianne Skoublinska.
Madame Stysinski (or, “Skoublinska”) did not operate her business alone. Her partners were her sister, daughter and niece. But what we have here is not actually a baby farming business. The four women were what Germans called “professional murderesses” (Kindermorderin) or in France, Russia and elsewhere “angel-makers” (faiseuses d’anges). They were paid by the parent, or parents, to kill unwanted infants. In today’s terminology, the practice, which is being promoted by some bioethicists as a procedure that ought to be legalized with the consent of the female parent, is called “after birth abortion.” The practice, once legalized, is recommended for babies up to three years old for women who do not want their discarded child adopted by others. (Alberto Giubilini & Francesca Minerva, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” Journal of Medical Ethics, Feb. 23, 2012)
Marianne Skoublinska was a resourceful businesswoman who discovered how to profit from the infant deaths beyond the initial kill-fee she received for each baby-snuffing transaction. As one newspaper reported:
“Her baby farm, or rather graveyard, became known to the police a month ago through her setting fire to her cottage, containing five little children, in order to obtain the amount of the insurance on her property. At the trial it was proved that not a single child which was entrusted to her care and entered her den ever left her house alive. It was also shown that she made two charges for taking care of children, fifteen roubles for allowing the baby to die in a few weeks, and twenty for procuring its death within a day or two. She frequently threw the bodies of the children to her hogs, and boasted of the fattest hogs in the district on account of the exceptionally good feed she provided for them, in spite of all the evidence, she could not be convicted of murder.”
The fact that Skoublinska could be found guilty but given an exceedingly short sentence was noted at the time in a New York City German language newspaper:
“For a young girl who is supposed to have had the intention of attempting the life of the Tzar – the gallows; for the murderess of so many children – three years penal servitude. After that, who can reproach the Nihilists for what they do?”
Yet, when we delve into the depths of the baby killing business, such an outcome will come to be seen as perfectly comprehensible.
• Money, recreational sex, and influence
One of the reasons so many baby farmers, from all parts of the world, who committed serial murder managed to avoid harsh penalties after being caught killing infants is that, in many cases, the baby farmer’s clients were wealthy and powerful members of the community in which they operated who were paying goodly sums to have their inconvenient offspring terminated, or, in other cases the killers’ clients were prostitutes or procurers who serviced such affluent and influential persons.
It is frequently argued, by those writers who discuss the subject, that infanticides committed by baby farmers, midwives or “angel-makers”, are motivated by fear that the parents could not afford to raise the child. Yet it was quite common to see in the historical record such cases as the three cases below (Frau Myer, the Przemysi women, and Madame Guzovska) where it appears that the children were murdered with the parents’ express permission because the wealthy parent(s) were not able or willing to spend money or risk social standing to save the life of a “love child.”
From 1892, Germany: “An aged nurse named Myer, residing at Bockenheim, a suburb of Frankfort, has been arrested and charged with causing the death of fifty-eight infants.” The alleged crimes cover a considerable length of time, and it is reputed that several wealthy ladies of Frankfort are to be accused of complicity in the baby farmer’s criminal operations.
In 1893, “three Austrian women were arrested in Przemysi after 27 infant corpses were discovered buried in cigar boxes on their property. A further 19 infant deaths were disclosed when babies’ skeletons were found indoors. But they felt they could avoid harsh punishment, for although “the women confessed, [they] said that if arraigned they would shake the city with their revelations.”
In Warsaw in 1903 “Madame Guzovska murdered over 500 babies in the course of two or three years, and … she received about ?10,000 for her crimes.”
There is a hackneyed and politically correct bromide which asserts that “crime is caused by poverty” which is endlessly trotted out by trainers and indoctrinators – all-too-often in the guise of professors and teachers. The purpose of this simplistic claim is to offer up a mindless, nuance-free, formulaic sound-bite equation which serves, in effect, to put the brakes on critical thinking, to erase any temptation on a student’s part to start looking deeply into complex and difficult questions of personal morality and character.
Yet the “serial killers of babies for cash” shown in these cases were swimming in money, sharing in the wealth of clients who, it would appear, had a penchant for maintaining a certain life-style of pleasure, amusement, status and luxury that they found quite pleasant; and which they preferred not to disrupt if they could conveniently, and quietly, avoid it.
A gruesome underworld of shadowy sadistic opportunists was developed to satisfy these desires for uninterrupted pleasure and convenience. It was an underworld populated by ruthless killers who were ready to “play God,” to decide who might live and who might die, and, at best though of murdering babes as no different from drowning puppies, and quite likely in many cases, gave perverse delight to psychopaths who “got off” on their cruel acts.
• Social causation or personal agency?
In the concluding remarks of Dr. Johnston’s article, under the heading “The Bottom Line,” the author posits the view that it is not possible to determine whether the four baby farmers she discusses might not have become murderesses were it not for the social conditions that shaped their economic environment: “We’ll never know whether or not they would have taken some other malevolent path if the one they chose had not been available to them, a path that started with deception and ended in murder.”
True. One never can “know” the answer to a “what if” scenario. Yet of when it is our purpose to examine the mind and the behavior of the criminal one elects to abridge one’s thinking – through applying simplistic formulae – the resulting assessment cannot but be fatally flawed.
Subsuming the examination of criminal impulses of individuals strictly to the social deterministic formulae – whether such models be centered sex roles or economic influences – results in shallow explanations that lack nuance and which fail to describe reality. A social constructionist analysis all too often interferes with the process of serious inquiry, undermining serious and searching consideration of personal agency.
In order to move closer into looking at the question of agency with respect to female serial killers who specialize in the murders of children, I will present some cases of a type different yet closely related to baby farmer serial killers.
My comparative approach seeks to move beyond the notion that this class of serial killers (baby farmers) presents a “go figure” unsolvable criminological mystery. More than enough evidence exists which allows the question of motive, sociopathic tendency and deliberate personal agency on the part of repeat child-killers to be examined and weighed.
When looking at the numerous cases of child care providers who murdered children, over and over again, and wondering why they did it, I have chosen to invert the question. Instead of merely asking why some baby farmers chose to kill for money I also ask why did other people choose not to make money off of the serial murder of children when such opportunities were commonly available? There is a difference between choosing and choosing not. There is a difference between a conscious human agent who continues a pattern of criminal behavior in series and, conversely, an agent who, at some point, quits that malicious, or impulsive, criminal behavior voluntarily. Let us consider what kind of person can go about killing children over and over and over again.
• Burned Alive
Let us look at what the historical record can further teach us about the type of person who murders babies for a living but looking specifically at what they said and how they behaved.
In 1875, Margaret McCloskey, a New York baby farmer, was arrested after neighbors complained of incessant cries. A neighbor, Elizabeth Clifford visited the McCloskey place to find out what was going on. The New York Times reports that “Mrs. Clifford found the youngest child apparently dying from starvation, and was told by one of the women that Mrs. McCloskey had been angry because the other infant had been removed, and had struck the little one, saying: ‘Let it die; it’s paid for.’” The callousness displayed by this baby farmer is, in the lay opinion of this writer, that of a psychopath.
Several baby farmers have been accused of burning babies alive.
From testimony in a 1907 affidavit regarding homicide accusations against Mrs. Fred West of Des Moines, Iowa:
“Babies have been burned at the West baby farm before they were dead — thrown into the furnace to end their helpless cries” – is a charge which Miss Flora Goble, the chief witness for the prosecution and a former nurse at the home makes. In a sworn affidavit she declares she saw Miss Beattie give ten drops of laudanum [opiate solution] to Baby Jim under the direction of Mrs. West. Mrs. Goble’s said that “Mrs. West asked me to give the laudanum to the baby and brought me the poison bottle. I refused. Mrs. West told me not to be foolish – that it was [when] the babies gave any trouble they [put] them out of misery as fast as possible.”
According to nurse Flora Goble’s declaration, we see that for her own part she chose, of her own free will, to refuse to follow orders despite any economic incentive, and then ended up becoming a “whistleblower.”
Mrs. West profited from selling babies she was paid to care after and put up for adoption. The ones who she killed were the left-over merchandise.
Dagmar Overbye, the infamous Copenhagen baby farmer, was convicted in 1920 by the Danish courts of nine child-murders. She was suspected of a great many other baby-slayings beginning in 1916. Wikipedia tells us that “she strangled them, drowned them or burned them to death in her masonry heater. The corpses were either cremated, buried or hidden in the loft.”
Similarly, in the United States Elizabeth Ashmead, baby-farmer and abortionist, who operated – constantly on the run from infamy and the law – successively in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, was repeatedly put on trial during her baby farming and abortion career. She is best known for the Philadelphia prosecution of 1904 which prompted such headlines as “Babies Were Buried Alive – Mothers’ Bodies Were Cut Up,” and which, unsuccessfully, attempted to put her away for murder.
A news report on this 1904 murder trial showed that “The bodies of the infants brought into the world in these sore-spots on a civilized globe, were often burned in the furnace of the house, so two witnesses testified. One man said he had seen Mrs. Ashmead throw crying infants into a red-hot furnace, and had also seen her dispose of dead bodies in the same way.” Ashmead made between $800 and 900 weekly during a period in which the buying power of the dollar was, according to one calculation, 25 times the present rate.
It is clear that certain “baby farmers” were paid, often exceedingly well, to kill babies who were “in the way” and were, in a sense, hired killers whose dirty work was much easier and much less risky than was that of her counterpart, the “hit man” who got his living from murdering adults.
We are already miles away from the notion that serial killer baby farmers somehow let babies fade vaguely away by a process vaguely denoted as “neglect,” yet there is more, much more, to be said in reference to the “we’ll never know” position.
• “Exactly the same as the others.”
The testimony of convicted thief, brothel owner and midwife Madame Delpech of Montauban, France at her 1869 trial gives us a lens into the mind of a serial baby killer. Here’s a revealing snippet – in her own words:
Judge: “These children were found after they had been dead two or three days?”
Delpech: “Yes, sir; I kept one for two or three days at the foot of my bed!’
Judge: “You killed them by putting their heads in a pail of water. Is it not so?”
Delpech: “Yes sir.”
Judge: “You suffocated another?”
Delpech: “Yes; exactly the same as the others.”
Outcome: Madame Delpech, a confessed serial killer, was convicted of murder and sentenced to hard labor for life. We are not talking about “neglect” here, we are talking about violence.
• • • •
Death on the ‘baby farm’: part two
• Ritual child sacrifice & the Ukrainian “Angelmakers”
Throughout Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries the term “angel-making” was a commonly used euphemism for infanticide. The term has, in at least in one case, a horrifyingly literal denotation. Here is an excerpt from a news report describing a Ukrainian cult, or “sect,” said to be “infamous under the denomination of ‘Angelmakers,’” located in Odessa. This ultra-creepy serial baby-killing case dates from 1885.
The sect members “profess their mission is to murder for the assured salvation of the souls of their innocent victims, and at the same time to earn for themselves eternal glory. It is difficult, however, to obtain any exact account of the origin and organisation of this sect, whose members, it would appear, were under some vow of secrecy. The prisoner tried yesterday was charged under the name of Rachel Ostrovoskafa, but is known to the police by several aliases. She is a married woman, 28 years of age; one of her known victims being her own and only child. Three cases of child murder, one by strangulation, were proved against the prisoner, who was too leniently condemned to 15 years’ hard labour. The woman appeared unaffected, and when called upon by the judge, replied simply, and with the utmost composure, ‘Do with me what you will; I am in your hands.’”
• A global business model
Baby farming scandals peppered the English language newspapers for many, many decades. But reports of sensational baby farming murder cases were not restricted to the English-speaking world. They ranged across the globe: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Portugal, Italy, Russia, Hungary, Ukraine and Japan.
In Christiania, Norway [now called Oslo] in 1902 “the remains of a small army of tiny corpses were dug up” by police from the “private cemeteries in gardens and fields” on the properties of a consortium of twenty baby farmers.
The sheer scale of some baby farmer “death camp” operations from the early 1900s is astonishing. In 1913, Madame Kusnezowa of Archangel, Russia, was accused of murdering 1,012. In 1906, Mr. and Mrs. Holmen’s baby farm in Stockholm, Sweden, the death count was over 1,000.
The Holmens, proprietors of the National Children’s Sanitorium in Stockholm, were sophisticated con artists as well as merciless serial killers. The international news of the day revealed that “It appears that the alleged Sanitorium was simply a baby farm on an immense scale, and that wholesale murders of babies were committed. The authorities are trying to trace Gustav Holmen and the woman who passed as his wife. He posed as a minister and she as a trained nurse and specialist in children and their bringing up. They secured numerous contributions, and especially handsome amounts were subscribed to the building fund. It is calculated, that in the three years the institution had been running, over a thousand babies have been received. Yet only thirteen babies are alive and well. These are the healthiest, fattest and prettiest of those received, and they were used as decoy, or show babies. They were shown to mothers and to all visitors and their pictures were sent out on the literature used.”
Across the globe, in Japan, baby farmers thrived – and many of their charges died. Japan’s adoption practice, a “dowry” system, created a formally sanctioned incentive that attracted those ready to make an easy kill for easy money. An English-language newspaper explained that “according to the Japanese institution of adoption, parents who cannot afford to give their children the best opportunities may offer them to more affluent families who are childless or lacking in a male heir. It is frequently customary for the family to pay a dowry to the family adopting the child.” (quote from the Tanaka case, below)
In 1902, in Osaka, a family whose name was not given in the English-language reports and described as “an elderly woman, her married daughter, husband and two other persons” was arrested and charged with the murder of 300 children within a single year of operations. In 1906, also in Osaka, a woman, un-named (whom I have labeled the “Osaka ‘Devil Woman,’” based on the pejorative given her by her community), was “charged with having murdered over 100 babies. On the way to the Public Prosecutor’s office from the police station, she was greeted, it was reported, by large crowds, with shouts of “’human devil,’ ‘kill the devilish woman,’ and similar execrations.”
In 1924, in a suburb of Tokyo, the closet of Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka, dowry-takers, were found to contain bones of child victims following their arrest on a complaint that the couple were thought to be in the process of deliberately starving two babies to death at their home.
In 1948, a sensational Japanese serial baby-killing case erupted into the international news involving the Kotobuki Maternity Hospital in Shinjuku, operated by Mrs. Miyuki Ishikawa and her husband Takeshi Ishikawa. Dramatic photos were published showing victim children packed like sardines into a baby farm bunk. Another picture shows a troop of nurses removing the surviving children from a death house. The five surviving babies removed from the Ishikawas were all found by doctors to be in “critical condition, suffering from malnutrition, pneumonia, bronchitis and skin diseases.” Wikipedia notes that “it is estimated that her victims numbered between 85 to 169, however the general estimate is 103. When she was finally apprehended, the Tokyo High Court’s four-year sentence Mrs. Ishikawa received was remarkably light considering her actions resulted in a death toll so high that it remains unrivaled by any other serial killer in Japan.”
Starvation – which would frequently lead to disease – was a common method of murder used by killer baby farmers all across the world, yet my research on these serial killers reveals that the diversity of heartless murder methods employed by baby farmers is dizzying in its variety.
Feige Noskina, of Vilnius, Lithuania (” Vilna, Russia” in the papers), was apprehended in 1885, seems to have found a certain pleasure in inventing new ways to snuff out tiny lives. For her, variety was the spice of death.
“Many of [her victims] were allowed to die of cold and hunger and neglect, and others were poisoned with a decoction of poppy seed; but a large number were violently put to death, being suffocated by means of pillows, or packages of wadding or linen, while others again were strangled by the accused, or drowned in cesspools.”
• Massacre of the Innocents, Memphis style
Here is a case that ought to be regarded as one of the most notorious serial killer cases in world history, yet it has never appeared on even a single list of serial killers (apart from my online publication).
Georgia Tann of Memphis, Tennessee, is credited with having created modern adoption practice – as it is still conducted – in the United States. We can thank Tann, the once-famed philanthropist, for having established the practice of falsifying birth records that is still standard practice in the adoption industry today. In her day, the 1930s-1940s, this Tennessee baby farmer was a nationally recognized expert on child-rearing. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt corresponded with her seeking her authoritative opinion when crafting child welfare policy. She was invited to lecture in Washington, New York and other cities on how to care after children. Portly pleasant-looking Miss Georgia Tann was a successful entrepreneur who raked in substantial profits and enjoyed the perks of social recognition during her nefarious operation’s heyday.
Miss Georgia Tann was also a fraudster, a sadistic child sexual molester, a serial child kidnapper and the murderer of many hundred – perhaps over a thousand – children.
In her criminal racket Tann was assisted by a respected writer on children’s welfare, a female Memphis judge who took bribes from Tann, Judge Camille Kelly. Kelly, like Tann, had a high public profile as a philanthropic benefactor of children. Kelly authored books such as A Friend in Court (1942) and Delinquent Angels (1947) published by major New York houses.
Wikipedia’s brief article on Kelly describes her involvement in Tann’s human trafficking scheme:
“Hallmark Productions was producing a movie based on her book, Delinquent Angels, but suspended production after her resignation from the bench in November 1950, in a storm of controversy and charges after the results of a special investigation ordered by governor Gordon Browning was released. The investigation surrounded illegal adoptions-for-profit by Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. It charged that approximately 20% of the illegal adoptions at the home were funnelled through Kelly’s court, where she would remove parental rights and provide Tann with documents to place the children as she deemed appropriate.”
According to one surviving victim (interviewed by Tann’s biographer), Georgia and her same-sex companion would hit the children “on the scalp so no one could see the bruises.” Favored forms of child torture at the Home included “tying a rope around a child’s wrists and hang[ing] it up on a coat rack and dangling a child from a rope down the laundry chute.”
The story of Mommie Dearest (bestselling book and cult film starring Faye Dunaway), the tortured saga of control-freak movie star Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter, was the story of one of the many children Georgia Tann had sold for big money to Hollywood purchasers.
During Tann’s tenure (during the 1930s and 1940s) as head of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis, the city was noted as producing the highest infant mortality rate in the nation. This fact, observed by a government researcher in Washington, D.C., led eventually to the exposure of Tann’s crimes, but she died before she could be prosecuted. Georgia Tann’s practice was to rid herself of those babies put in her charge – or kidnapped by her with official sanction with the collaboration of a corrupt judge – she deemed unsaleable by leaving them unattended out in the sun until they broiled to death. She and her lover (her adopted daughter) and male sexual deviants she employed would beat and torture children for the perverse sexual thrill of it.
“But she also literally stole many young children from their birth families – taking them away in her big car, or through social workers – and sold them. Tann disposed of more than 5,000 babies and children in this way” notes Charity Vogel in her review of the well-researched and superbly written 2007 book on Georgia Tann titled The Baby Thief : The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption, by Barbara Raymond.
Georgia Tann passed away in 1950 just at the moment her brutal crimes were being exposed to the public by a Congressional investigation. She had been a wholesale murderess who had mesmerized people into looking to her as some kind of social work saint.
Most serial killing child care providers, however, were obscure criminals who operated on a small scale.
By 1948, the term “baby farm” was for the most part obsolete. “Boarding house for babies” was a newer way of expressing the same thing (in the US). Of the two-bit con woman Edna Roseberry of Atlanta, Georgia, the operator of such a “boarding house”, the newspapers tell us, a “motherly-looking operator of a boarding house for babies was portrayed in criminal court today as a cruel woman who played the radio loud to drown out the screams of infants when she beat them. She was arrested for torturing children, but there were no homicide accusations. At her trial one witness testified that the 52-year-old care provider ‘beat a nine-year-old senseless and left another with the outline of her open hand plainly outlined on its body.’”
Before passing sentence after having been found guilty of beating one-year-old Charlene Stallings until she had blood running from her mouth, the trial judge asked “Mrs. Roseberry, have you any previous record?” The child care provider frankly replied, “Yes, sir, for hijacking, bootleg liquor in Kansas back in 1934,” she replied, adding that she was given from 10 to 21 years on a charge of armed robbery and served six years of this term.
Edna Roseberry had the classic profile of a criminal. Had present-day information technology been available in her day she might have been prevented from getting her hands on her victims. Yet Georgia Tann was a sophisticated white collar criminal, with brains and connections within the court system, protected by the political machine of Memphis. She was a famous philanthropist who had in her pocket a respected female judge who herself was an expert on the welfare of children. Two radically different socioeconomic profiles: the one was an obvious, sleazy, two-bit “blue collar” sociopath, the other was a successful, sophisticated pillar of society, a “respectable” sociopath who could get away with the most hideous sorts of crimes on an epic scale.
• Baby-Sitter Serial Killers
There is, I would argue, evidence in the data on female serial killer cases that point to a type of mania for murdering helpless children. It is known that many run-of-the-mill female serial killers (hundreds of them) have murdered their own children during their killing careers – along with other family members, parents, siblings, husbands. The list of women who are known to have serially murdered their own newborns is as long as it is depressing.
There is another category of female serial killer who murdered children – other people’s children – that must be looked at if we are to seriously ponder what type of person might become a serial killing baby farmer. This category is the baby-sitter serial killer.
Unlike male serial killers of children, females (with some rare exceptions, such as Guadalupe Martinez de Bejarano) do not kill to cover up sexual molestation as do so many male serial killers of children. Their perversion is different. They do not do it for the money, or to save expenses (from food, bathing and linen costs), as do the baby farmers, that is certain. Yet the baby-sitter serial killers clearly do have a mania for killing. Why should we assume that murderous baby farmers are so very different, merely because of the financial aspect of their criminal activity? More likely, many of them were attracted to their occupation by the thrill of killing helpless victims just like the serial killer nurses and baby-sitters of recent decades whose cases are much better known to the public.
Here are nine examples of baby-sitter serial killers dating (and one baby farmer for comparison) from 1906-1989:
1906 – Ida Schnell – Munich, Germany – teenage child-care provider who had a special technique for murdering babies, “plunging a hairpin into the lower part of the back of their heads till they ceased to cry.”
(I must add that in Schnell’s method there is a similarity to Australian baby farmer Sarah Jane Makin’s manner of executing infants. In 1892, at two different locations near Sydney, “the bodies of thirteen infants were found and to-day, two more bodies were found in the yard of a house at Chippendale. The mothers of some of the murdered babies have been traced. The theory of the doctors is that the babies were killed by having their hearts or spines pierced with needles.” Sarah Jane and her husband, John, were sentenced to death. John was hanged; Sarah Jane had her sentence commuted to life. She served 18 years and was paroled in 1911.)
1906 – Lillian B. Thorman – York, Pennsylvania – A 15-year-old servant girl murdered a child whom she “roasted from head to toe” by placing the youngster on the stove. After her arrest it was learned she had previously murdered three other children in the same manner, getting away with the crimes by having concocting stories of unfortunate accidents.
1908 – Jeanne Weber – Paris, France – She was obsessed with strangling children of various ages, and murdered at least ten. Among her victims were three children of her own; the rest were mostly the children of relatives. She was caught in the act several times, but got away with murder with the help of the brilliant and famous men of science and law who defended her in court on two separate occasions. Having been found innocent once, she was free to kill again. She was caught again, found innocent again and continued her strangling career, until finally she was caught in such a flagrant act of violent child-strangling that even the “experts” could not be able to employ their sophisticated and erroneous theories to save her. After being declared insane and sent to prison, Jeanne strangled herself to death.
1956 – Virginia Jaspers – New Haven, Connecticut – A retired head pediatric nurse killed three babies by shaking them to death because “children sometimes get on her nerves.” Other of her victims lived through their ordeals. Among these Nurse Jaspers had broken the leg of one and caused a serious head injury to yet another. After her arrest Mrs. Jaspers said: “How will I ever face people again?” This highly trained professional child care provider explained her actions thus: “It was all uncontrollable. I didn’t know why I did it. Children sometimes get on my nerves.”
1980 – Helen Patricia Moore – Claymore, NSW, Australia – She smothered 3 children and 3 additional children survived her abuse, one of them being rendered blind and unable to walk.
1982 – Christine Laverne Falling – Calhoun & Taylor Counties, Florida – She murdered at least 5 children. According to her testimony, she had heard voices that ordered her to kill the babies by placing a blanket over their faces.
1984 – Lise Jane Turner – Christchurch, New Zealand – She murdered two of her own babies plus one other baby, and attempted to kill four other babies she had been looking after.
1986 – Sandra K. Pankow – Appleton, Wisconsin – Accused of murdering three babies she “sat” for, she was convicted of murdering two.
1989 – Amy Lynn Scott – Phoenix, Arizona – She murdered three babies in 1989. The parents of the victims were all met by the baby-sitter murderess at the same church. She was not convicted until 2007.
• “I didn’t know why I did it.” (Virginia Jaspers, retired head nurse, 1956)
Regarding the moral hazard inherent in the baby farming business model Dr. Johnston, in her Psychology Today article on baby farmer serial killers, properly observes that “the financial arrangement itself was partially the problem. On the one hand, women who paid for their child’s care by the month gave the child care provider a reason to keep the child alive but by the cheapest means possible. … As such, hundreds of these babies died from neglect, either directly from malnutrition or from a secondary disease as a result of a weakened immune system.”
Yet “the bottom line” should, I would argue, not be concluded to be merely a matter of economics, of weakness in the face of temptation, or of greed, or of fear of poverty. Such agency-discounting arguments as that fail to address the question of why so many other persons, many quite poor, chose not to become murderous baby farmers.
It is Dr. Johnston’s conclusion that “we’ll never know whether or not [the baby farmers discussed in her article] would have taken some other malevolent path if the one they chose had not been available to them, a path that started with deception and ended in murder.” Strictly speaking, this is perfectly true, for we lack the definitive documentary evidence that might offer deep insight into the personalities of these individuals. But that does not mean one must avoid making an earnest probe to try to comprehend the character and psyche of such a serial baby killer. We should, I suggest, try our best to know as much as we can.
This “we’ll never know” conclusion is not much different from nipping the inquiry in the bud and asserting that “some things are better left unsaid.”
When one constructs a hypothetical question that cannot have an answer and that is in its essence an irrelevant one – whether the criminal might have not committed the crime if the victim and the booty had not been within reach – the construct is no more than a straw man argument. We are reminded of the exclamation of Virginia Jaspers, professional head nurse and obsessive child killer, made by her to investigators in 1956: “I didn’t know why I did it.” Yet investigators working in 2013 to uncover the psychology of serial killers cannot get away with failing to seriously make an effort to find out why they did it.
The fact remains that insight into the murderous personality type of the baby farmer serial killer is available in abundance should one to choose to conscientiously look at it. Rather than give up trying to comprehend the mindset of a woman who would incinerate babies alive in a deliberately set house fire, or throw murdered babies to the hogs (Skoublinska, of Warsaw) or batter a child so that its skull is cracked in half (Geisen-Volk), we ought to make our very best effort to attempt to comprehend and expose that mindset.
Dr. Johnston’s Psychology Today article on baby farms, however, glaringly avoids discussing the gory details of the murder methods of the women she writes about. Instead her article employs the unspecific and innocuous catch-all term “neglect,” a rather benign-sounding method, leaving her reader with the false impression that the little victims of violent death at the hands of the serial killing baby farmers the article cites – Dyer, the Warsaw baby farmer and Mrs. Geisen-Volk – just faded away painlessly into the ether like cloudy cherubs.
Allowing the cause of death to be seen as simply “neglect” (unspecific, without details given) allows the discussion to completely sidestep the disturbing fact that huge numbers of infants have, by these frequently pathologically sadistic serial killers, been strangled, stabbed, smothered, burned alive, frozen to death, drowned, killed by having their necks twisted, crushed to death with furniture, poisoned, drugged to death and battered to death. No: “neglect” is not an adequate term to describe these acts; nor is “weakened immune system” adequate to identify the “mass of putrid sores” on the two-year-old victim of Madame Julien (1867, France) or the “pneumonia, bronchitis and skin diseases” of the five children rescued from the care of Mrs. Ishikawa (1948, Japan).
It is imperative that we consider the possibility that some women (as well as some men too, but in fewer numbers) get a sick addictive kick from cruelly snuffing out the life of a defenseless child.
• Beyond the “bottom line”
The issue of baby farmers who kill, how they kill, and why they choose to kill, is germane today: crucially germane to all of us, I would assert.
In addition to the recent proffering of a mother’s right to kill in the form of “after birth abortion,” being promoted by specialists in the burgeoning field of “bioethics,” we have other eminent experts attempting to turn back the clock to the druggy days of laudanum for babes.
Dr. Sandra Scarr – former President of the Society for Research in Child Development, the Association for Psychological Science, the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology, and the Behavior Genetics Association, and CEO of Kindercare corporation, the biggest day care franchise – claims that a baby’s strong maternal attachment – resulting from having put into the care of “professional” strangers – ought to be seen as a mental disorder that can be, in Dr. Scarr’s ominous philosophy, “treated.”
Another major child expert has big, and highly lucrative, plans for transforming infanthood into a “scientific” industry. Dr. Joseph Biederman, “a world renowned Harvard child psychiatrist,” a hugely influential producer of studies that assist pharmaceutical corporations (who underwrite the studies) to market their products – claims that a small child as young as three can be “diagnosed” with bipolar disorder, which, as you might guess, can be “treated” by placing the infant on a lifelong, permanently mind-altering and expensive regimen of powerful psychotropic drugs. His experiments, or “studies,” were conducted with the babies of poor, presumably single, mothers who profited from making their children available to Dr. B.
The Psychology Today article on baby farmers which prompted me to write this piece cited, you will recall, four important serial murder cases by way of illustrating the general subject of repeated deaths of infants on baby farms. It was the author’s decision to forgo informing her readers the crucial and telling details of those four cited cases – namely such details as a building containing children having been set deliberately afire, the throwing of babies’ corpses to hogs, a child’s “skull cracked in half,” a girl having been grabbed up by its ankles and dashed with force against a wall, the drugging of babies with opiates, and the brutal strangling of babies with cotton edging tape followed by disposal of the lifeless victim in a canal – that compelled me to offer my somewhat different thoughts, speculations, and interpretations from those expressed by Dr. Johnston and prompted me to pose difficult questions she did not elect to take up.
The issue of serial homicide and abuse by hired child care providers in days gone by is not merely an academic one. The subject has significant import today as we face a fiercely metastasizing (albeit cautiously incremental and seemingly benign) combined state/corporation central planning agenda that aims, like all great human total-management schemes, to control the minds and bodies of children – and to control them absolutely. In this period we are now living in we have finally passed the threshold into the full scale Orwellian Zone where the health of an infant – whether about-to-be-born or “after birth,” whether female or male – has become subsumed under the innocuous “human resource management” rubric of “women’s health.” Oh, but we can surely trust the experts, can’t we?
Let us be reminded that government-regulated foster child programs in the United States are well-known for their monumental, excruciating failures. Children in these programs die in rates many times higher than is the case in the general population. Further, these children are also sexually abused at a much higher rate. The children are heavily drugged with cocktails of multiple powerful psychotropic drugs – to the great profit of those businesses that worked so hard, investing huge sums to purchase the best experts money can buy, in order to design public policy after their own image. It is all done under protocols created, and heavily subsidized, by a distant centralized federal government.
It is with good reason that the history of serial abuses by child care providers – and the battalions of miscreants such a business can be proven to have attracted – continues to get the white-wash treatment. This serial child care provider infanticide business is a bit of history which many interested parties would rather see sanitized and swept under the rug (along with so much other portions of history that are either politically inconvenient or ideologically outré).
Forgotten baby farming practices of days gone by, and the kinds of people this type of business repeatedly draws, are topics which more than deserve an incisive looking into. If we choose to turn our gaze away from the sordid “uncomfortable” facts we are engaging in a shameful act of self-censorship. Averting one’s gaze – as a self-protection strategy – is a manifestation of magical thinking, a psychological state of denial. Moreover, such denial further promulgates a blinding normalcy bias that favors simplistic, easy, and reassuring explanations. It dumbs us down. It gets us used to uncritical acceptance, cowardice and moral numbness.
Let us not deploy the banal and hackneyed professorial formula of causes described as “social stressors” or other methods of social determinist interpretation for the purpose of erasing all serious consideration of free will and personal agency, in our examination of such subjects as serial killers who fatally abuse displaced children. Let us neither justify nor excuse future crimes by invoking facile and mechanical explanations for deeds committed by individualized criminals long gone. Let us not concoct, in our mythological narrative constructions, freshly absolved tribes of “justified sinners.”
Not trying to know as much as we can possibly manage about the subject of deadly child care providers – whether they be malevolent or merely incompetent – as a pervasive criminal and psychological phenomenon (one which has been relentlessly and painfully exposed to light within this article), can indeed numb our minds to what is, in fact, a continuously pertinent issue of life and death.
If you, dear reader, have been patient and brave enough to read this essay along from beginning to end, you will have, if you are a normal person with a human heart, read it and wept.
Our tears are not shed in vain. Great changes are upon us in this our rapidly moving age. It is incumbent that we go forth daily with eyes wide open and for us to marshal our will – to master our minds and souls and ready ourselves to blaze new trails of escape from the cloudy maze of baffles and falsehoods – fake history, twisted ideologies, amoral imperatives – that has been constructed by our overseers expressly designed to imprison our individual minds – and, more importantly – the minds and bodies of our fresh and sparkling innocent little children.
We must reject sound-bite explanations which serve to lull us into indifference. We must go beyond tidy and ideology-tainted generalizations and look deeper, for “the Devil is in the details.”
• • • •
Photo of rescued baby, Frankie Heath, from: [“New Baby-Farm Horror – Little Frankie Heath Is Found by His Mother Dying of Starvation Amid Most Revolting Conditions.” The Sunday Journal (Minneapolis, Mn.), Nov. 11, 1906, p. 1]
• • • •
• Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D., “Life on the Baby Farm: Killing Kids for Cash,” female-serial-killers.com, June 12, 2013
• Dr. Biederman • Bruce E. Levine, “Exposed: Harvard Shrink Gets Rich Labeling Kids Bipolar,” AlterNet, Jun, 17, 2008
• Dr. Scarr • William Norman Grigg, “New Century Children,” The New American, Vol. 19, No. 18, Sep. 3, 2008; Brian C. Robertson, Day Care Deception (book), Encounter Books, 2004
• “After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” Journal of Medical Ethics, Feb. 23, 2012
••• Historical Cases:
• Exposure to elements method – a case not cited in the text body, but an excellent example of the type: Christiana Breitschweidt, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1892 – [“Leaving Infants To Die – Mrs. Breitschwert Arrested For Baby Farming In Jersey City.” The New York Times (N.Y.), Jan. 15, 1892, p. 10]
• Philanthropy, professionalism & neglect – The Nivison case, not mentioned in my article, provides a bizarre example of apparent incompetence (or, perhaps insanity) on the part of a professionally trained and well-funded nurse who operated a publicly sanctioned baby farm – [“Terrible Revelation – Evidence of Infants Being Murdered by the Score.” Daily Evening Bulletin (Mattville, Ky.), Jun. 6, 1884, p. 1] [“Miss Nivison’s Denial – Indignant At The Charges Against Her Home. – She Says That the Babies Died From Measles and Pneumonia, and Were Buried With Religious Ceremonies Whose Offspring the Infants Were.” The Evening Herald (Syracuse, N. Y.), Jun. 6, 1884, p. 8] [Untitled, The Upper Des Moines (Algona, Io.), Jul. 9, 1884, p. 2]
• Ashmead, Elizabeth – [“New-Jersey ‘Baby Farm’ Mystery Rivals Gunness Case,” syndicated The Waterloo Times-Tribune (Io.), May 21, 1910, p. 8]
[“Babies Were Buried Alive – Mothers’ Bodies Were Cut Up,” The Tacoma Times (Wa.), Apr. 11, 1904, p. 4]
[“Given Five Years – Baby Farmer Was Sent to Federal Prison,” The Lowell Sun (Ma.), Jul. 1, 1911, p. 7]
• “Christiana Baby Farmers” – [“Christiania The Wickedest Capital in All Europe,” The Atlanta Constitution (Ga.), Jul. 6, 1902, p. 16]
• Delpech, Madame –[From “Parisian Gossip.” The Southland Times (Invercargill, New Zealand) May 20, 1869, pp. 2-3] [“Wholesale Infanticide.” Lloyd’s Weekly Newsletter (London, England), Mar. 14, 1869, p. 1] [“Infanticide In France.” The Saturday Review (London, England), Mar. 20, 1869, p. 385]
• Dyer, Amelia – [“Hundreds of Victims. – Amelia Dyer, Baby Farmer and Strangler.” syndicated, The Logansport Pharos (In.), May 15, 1896, p. 6]
“Hundreds of Victims. – Amelia Dyer, Baby Farmer and Strangler.” syndicated, The Logansport Pharos (In.), May 15, 1896, p. 6
[“Britain’s worst ever serial killer: The Victorian angel of death that murdered 400 babies,” Written by 24 Tanzania Reporter, Tanzania.com, Feb. 23, 2013]
• Eckhart, Wilhelmena – [“Murderer of Infants Charge Against Woman – Grave Accusations Against Mother by Her Two Daughters, Who Caused Her Imprisonment in Tombs.” The Washington Times (D.C.), Nov. 21, 1906, p. 8] [“Light Sentence For Baby Farmer,” The Pensacola Journal (Fl.), Dec. 22, 1906, p. 1]
• Falling, Christine – [Max Haines, Deadly Babysitter,” Lethbridge Herald (Alberta, Canada), Jan. 25, 2004, p. A9]
“Christine Falling,” from Murderpedia.org
• Geisen-Volk, Helen – Jay Maeder, “Mother’s Day; Baby Nest, May 1925 Chapter 34, Daily News (New York, N.Y.), Mar. 15, 2000
• Guzovska, Madame – [Untitled, The Bruce Herald (Tokomairio, New Zealand), Jun. 16, 1903, p. 4]
• Holmen, Mr. & Mrs. – [“A Thousand Babies Murdered – On Huge Baby Farm in Stockholm. Decoy Infants.” Syndicated, New Zealand Truth (Wellington, N.Z.), Dec. 22, 1906, p. 8]
• Ishikawa, Miyuki – “Miyuki Ishikawa,” on Wikipedia; [“Two New ‘Baby Death Suspects Rounded Up,” Pacific Stars and Stripes (Tokyo, Japan), Jan. 20, 1948, p. 1]
[“On Trial As Baby Murderers,” Pacific Stars and Stripes (Tokyo, Japan), Sep. 24, 1948, p. 4]
• Jaspers, Virginia –[“Nurse Admits Shaking Three Babies to Death – They Refused to Take Formulas and Got On Her Nerves, She Explains To Police,” syndicated (AP), The Milwaukee Journal (Wi.), Aug. 28, 1956, p. 1]
• Julien, Madame – [“Systematic Child Murder.” The Atlas (London, England), Sep. 21, 1867, p. 8]
• Kusnezowa, Madame – [“Thousand Murdered Babies. – Russian Woman Charged. – Victims Killed By Poison.” Poverty Bay Herald (Gisborne, New Zealand), April 12, 1913, p. 10]
• Makin, Sara Jane – [“Hearts Pierced With Needles. – Bodies of Many Infants Found on Australian Baby Farms.” syndicated (AP), The World (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Nov. 14, 1892, p. 2]
• McCloskey, Margaret – [“Baby Farming.” New York Tribune (N.Y.), Jun. 28, 1876]
The New York Times report on this case gives the name as“Margaret McClinchy.” (“Baby Farming. A Woman Sent To The Penitentiary For Six Months And Fined $250.” New York Times (N.Y.), Jul. 2, 1876, p. ?)
• Moore, Helen Patricia – “The Ultimate Female Sentencing Discount: Helen Patricia Moore,” Porky’s Place, undated
[“Babysitter ‘was killer,’” The Age (Melbourne, Australia), Apr. 2, 1980, p. 3]
[“Woman faces further murder, assault charges – Boy now blind, unable to walk, SM told,” The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Apr. 10, 1980, p. 2]
[Alison Stewart, “Portrait of a baby killer – A life of agony haunts babysit killer’s family,” The Sun-Herald (Melbourne, Australia), Dec. 14, 1980, p. 2]
• Noskina, Feige – [:Wholesale Infanticide In Russia. – Shocking Disclosures.: The South Australian Chronicle, Adelaide, SA, Australia), Jun. 18, 1892, p. 6]
[“Baby Farmers Sentenced.” The Sun (New York, N.Y.), May 5, 1892, p. 2]
• “Osaka Baby Farmers” – [“Three Hundred Babies Victims Members of a Japanese Family Arrested at Osaka on Charge of Child Slaughter.” (Special By Scripps-McRae.), Dec. 29, 1902, p. 1]
• “Osaka Devil Woman” – [“Wholesale Infanticide – Woman Charged With Murdering Over 100 Babies.” The West Australian (Perth, Australia), Aug. 28, 1906, p. 2]
• Ostrovoskafa, Rachel – [“A Murderous Sect.” Marlborough Express (Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand), Mar. 25, 1885, p. 3]
• Overbye, Dagnmar – [Helle Harbo Sørensen, “Child killer Dagmar Overbye,” TV2 Finans, Jun. 22, 2008] Link to Danish original: Helle Harbo Sørensen, “Bardemordersken Dagmar Overbye,” TV2 Finans, Jun. 22, 2008]
• Pankow, Sandra K. – [Lee Bergquist, “Appleton sitter gets 40 years for 2 killings,” Milwaukee Sentinel (Wi.), Aug. 22, 1986, p. 1]
• “Premysi Baby Farmers” – [“Wholesale Infanticide. – Terrible Revelations of an Austrian Baby-Farm – Dozens of Bodies Found by the Authorities – Social Scandals Threatened.” The Toronto Daily Mail (Canada), Mar. 6, 1893, p. 1]
• Roseberry, Edna – [“Woman Convicted of Beating Baby,” St. Petersburg Times (Fl.), Feb. 20, 1948, p. 8]
• Schnell, Ida – [Bernard Fischer, “Girl of Thirteen Slays Six Babies – Remarkable Record of Murder Is Confessed by a Child in Munich.” Syndicated, The Salt Lake Tribune (Ut.), Nov. 10, 1907, p. 17]
• Scott, Amy Lynn –[Jill Redhage, “Woman convicted of killing three babies decades after their deaths,” East Valley Tribune (Tempe, Az.), Mar. 7, 2007 (updated Oct. 7, 2011)]
• Skoublinska, Marianne; “Skublinski,” “Stysinski, ” etc. – [“Horrible Crimes At Warsaw – Fifty Murdered Babies Found.” The Echo (London, England), Feb. 24, 1890, p. 3]
[“A Diabolical Crime.” Supplement to Evening Post (Wellington, New Zealand), May 17, 1890, p. 1]
[“The Polish Baby Murderer Sentenced,” The Nelson Evening Mail (New Zealand), May 27, 1890, p. 4] [« Les faiseuses d’anges, » (Chronique Ou Crime) Le Stéphanois (Paris , France), Feb. 28, 1890, p. 2] [Untitled, Free Russia, (The Organ of the English Society of Friends of Russian Freedom, American Edition), (New York, N.Y.), Apr. 1891, p. 6]
• Tanaka, Mrs. Juniki – [“Infants Starved To Death For Dowries – Eight Murders Charged to Tokyo (Japan) Couple.” The Kingston Daily Freeman (N.Y.), Sep. 11, 1924, p. 7]
• Tann, Georgia – “Devil in disguise: Adoption in America,” The Buffalo News, May 22, 2007 (book review); Barbara Raymond, The Baby Thief, The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption,2007 (book; highly recommended)
• Thorman, Lillian B. –[“Fire Used To Kill. – Girls Says She Killed Three Children by Placing Them on the Stove.” Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Oh.), Feb. 23, 1906, p. 1]
• Turner, Lise Jane – [“Lise Jane Turner,” murderpedia.org] [“Lynn Turner (murderer),” Wikipedia]
• Waters, Margaret – [“Trade Of Murder – Review of the Case of Margaret Waters, the Murderess, Hanged on Oct. 11.” (from the London Spectator, Oct. 1), The New York Times (N.Y.), Oct. 15, 1870, p. ?] [Untitled, The Guardian (London, England), Oct. 12, 1870, p. 1191 (p. 7 of issue)] [“Baby Farming,” Victorian History, Mar. 14, 2012]
• Weber, Jeanne – [“‘The Fatal Woman.’ – Mystery Of Seven Infants’ Deaths.” From Paris Daily Mail, The Daily Mail (London, England), May 11, 1908, p. 5] [“Ogress’s Fate – Murderess of Many Children Sent to a Lunatic Asylum.” Lloyd’s Weekly News (London, England), Nov. 29, 1908, p. 10]
• Wiese, Elizabeth – [“Terrible Charges Against A Berlin Baby Farmer.” Daily Mail (London, England), Oct. 6, 1903, p. 5] [“Baby Farmer Must Die. – Notorious German Woman Receives Five Capital Sentences.” Syndicated (Bulletin Press Association), Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Wi.), Nov. 1, 1904, p. 4]
• West, Mrs. Fred Mr. – [“Babies Instead of Dogs Said to Be Sold in Iowa – Woman Charged With Killing Unsalable Child – Accused of Throwing Noisy Infants Into Furnace.” The Washington Times (D.C.), Jun. 4, 1907, p. 4
• • • •
• • • •