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Parents Who Murder Their Children

The incident which brought the issue of parents who murder their children to the fore in the American consciousness most recently was the case of Susan Smith, a young mother who told one story to the world for weeks and then was forced to tell the truth. She claimed that her car had been stolen by a black man at an intersection, and that he had driven off with her two children in the back seat. She later was charged with having driven her car--and her two young sons--into a lake, leaving the world wondering how so many people could have been fooled, how they could have been so ready to accept the story that a black person had committed such a crime, and most important of all, how a mother could kill her children. The world may have been surprised, but police were less so. Medical and police professionals know of many such cases each year, and when a child disappears, the parents are usually the first rather than the last people suspected of the crime. Society has always had a difficult time accepting this sort of crime, coping with it in the courts, and punishing parents who kill their children. Susan Smith is not the only mother to kill her children, nor is she the first to fool the public into supporting her search for her children before the truth comes to the fore. An examination of the issue shows how much effort is being put into trying to understand why this happens, how to prevent it, and how to address the guilty party when it does happen.

About 662 children under the age of 5 were murdered in 1992, and experts say that roughly twothirds were murdered by their parents. Social workers cite mental depression, social isolation, and a history of abuse as the main causes for this behavior in parents. The statistics on parents who kill their children vary, measured on different scales, gauging not only infanticide but other social ills as well. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calculates that in 1992 ...

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Parents Who Murder Their Children. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:39, November 29, 2021, from