Research: Behavioral Characteristics of Maternal Filicide: A Case Study

The purpose of this study is to identify the history and behavioral trends of maternal filicide in the United States.  This study examines six cases of filicide that were highly publicized by the media.  The media tends to overdramatize certain aspects of cases, which then leads to the overshadowing of actual facts.  The data was gathered from court records, police reports, televised offender interviews, and records of psychiatric assessments.  The cases that were reviewed were homicides that took place between 1997 and 2005.  The study examined the childhood, mental history, prior criminal history, motives and the family-of-origin for each of the filicidal women.  The mean age of the mothers at the time they committed the offense was 29.83 years.  The women ranged in age from 18 to 38 years.  The six women in the study killed a combined total of 17 children (16 males and 1 female).  Males were overrepresented as victims in this study compared to other research involving maternal filicide.