Murderous Mentally Ill Mothers and Government Negligence

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Marie Moore Kills 20-year-old Son

On April 5, 2009, 44-year-old mother Marie Moore killed her 20-year-old son Mitchell Moore by shooting him in the back of the head at point blank range while at a shooting range. She then turned her rented gun on herself. He died at the scene of the crimes in Casselberry, Florida, about 10 miles north of Orlando. She died later at a local hospital.

Marie Moore had been previously banned from the Shoot Straight gun range after a previous suicide attempt there several years earlier. Additionally, she had two DUI (Driving Under Intoxication) convictions and had been involuntarily institutionalized in 2002 for about a year for mental illness under Florida’s Baker Act.

In Marie Moore’s suicide notes and audio recordings, she denies being mentally ill. She had previously stated that God had told her she had to kill her son to send him to heaven and kill herself to go to hell “so there can be a thousand years peace on Earth.” She stated that God had made her the Antichrist, referred to the Bible, and that she must die to save the world from violence. From her comments, it appears her institutionalization didn’t do much to help her long-term mental health. Her words and actions also make it clear that religion can be a tool of the mentally ill to justify their bizarre actions, even homicide and suicide, in their own minds.

This case is another example of the many violent crimes committed by women against their children and current or former family members that should make it clear that domestic violence and child abuse are not exclusively committed by men. It is also yet another case of the “rights of the mentally ill” trumping the “right to life” of others, including innocent children.

Many Murders by Mentally Ill Mothers

The vast majority of parents, mothers and fathers, are not dangerously mentally ill people. It’s also clear that some fathers murder spouses and children, and some are dangerously mentally ill. What’s wrong with this picture is that the popular culture backed portrayal of fathers as being vicious, domineering, and murderous and mothers as being innocent victims doesn’t match statistical reality. See False Feminists and Abusive and Murderous Women for links to many studies that show domestic violence and child abuse are problems caused by both genders.

As for those mothers who are dangerously mentally ill, it appears the local governments in charge of social welfare programs are not capable or willing to do their jobs when it comes to them. Instead of protecting the people around the ill mother, the government pretends they are sane and safe mothers, even though it is doubtful they are capable of being safe around their children and/or others.

Examples of this occur in other cases of murderous mentally ill mothers:

In an unusual turn of events, Broderick had insisted her children go to live with their father. But she remained obsessed and paranoid regarding her ex-husband and his new wife. She stole a key from her daughter to gain access to their home in order to surprise and shoot them while they were asleep in bed.

In Susan Smith’s case, she could have turned her sons over to her estranged husband but did not do so. Instead, she killed them in order to assist her pursuit of a relationship with a man who did not like that she already had children.

In the Andrea Yates case, she was dangerously psychotic and this was well known to her family and medical care providers. But the care provided for her was inadequate to protect the children. Her husband, Russell Yates, left her alone with the children against medical advice. Both he and their preacher, Michael Peter Woroniecki, contributed to her religiously derived psychotic beliefs and actions that led to her murdering her five children by drowning in order to keep them from going to hell.

In the Banita Jacks case, she claims the children died in their sleep after being “possessed by demons.” There were religious writings found on the walls of her home. She referred to one of her daughters as “Jezebel” the demon, and quoted the Bible in police interviews. The children’s schools reported them missing, but Washington D.C. social workers didn’t bother to investigate beyond the mother’s claim that she wanted to home-school her daughters and government agencies continued to neglect their duties to protect the children. Adrian Fenty, Mayor of Washingon D.C., fired six child welfare workers over their involvement in this case. After arrest, Jacks refused to cooperate with any of three ordered psychological evaluations. She was finally institutionalized and then diagnosed as psychotic and prescribed the psychiatric medication Haldol.

In Reynolds’ case, she already had 6 children ages 18 months to 17 years with three men and repeated run-ins with CPS in two states besides California, where the murder occurred. She murdered her 7th child, conceived by a fourth man, on the day he was born. San Diego Deputy District Attorney Tracey Prior may claim there was “no documented mental illness” to bolster her prosecution, but let’s be real. Such numerous broken relationships resulting in so many children already should have called into question the mental health of this, even before the infanticide. Being mentally fit to stand trial for murder is not the same thing as being mentally fit to be a parent. That’s a fact the government seems to habitually forget.

In the last two cases, one of the fathers of a dead child was attempting to gain custody of the children. As usual, the courts prefer to leave children in mortal danger with mentally ill mothers than to let them spend time with their fathers.

The father of one of Leatrice Brewer’s children blamed Child Protective Services and courts in Nassau County, New York, for failing to protect the children. The CPS supervisor who refused to send social workers to investigate the family after repeated reports the children were in mortal danger was suspended for his actions.

Murderous Mothers Share Mental Illness

What do these women have in common? Broderick and Smith are believed to suffer from one or more DSM-IV personality disorders, in particular Borderline Personality Disorder.

Andrea Yates was psychotic and received inadequate medical attention. Compounding this was her exposure and involvement in extremist religious ideology promulgated by her husband and their preacher. She became convinced that she was evil, as she was told by their preacher, and that the only way to “save” her children from eternal hell was to kill them all.

Banita Jacks claimed her children were all possessed by demons and that they died one a time after she stopped feeding them. Apparently she didn’t admit the stabbing, strangulation, and blunt force head impact wounds had anything to do with it. Certainly she seems a poster mother for murderous mental illness. She has the same kind of perverse religious justification for murder as Marie Moore and Andrea Yates.

There’s not much information on Reynolds. Apparently murdering a newborn is not worthy of as much investigation as multiple child homicides. However, so many broken relationships resulting in so many children is often a sign of mental illness. Mentally healthy people don’t tend to create such a mess of their lives.

Brewer and Brown have repeated run-ins with child “protective” agencies and the police and histories of drug abuse and mental instability. Moore was mentally ill and had previously attempted suicide, too. These are all among the symptoms of illnesses such as Borderline Personality Disorder, but by no means enough to diagnose somebody with it. It could be they suffered from “simple” substance abuse problems, or a combination of mental health disorders.

Extreme Religious Beliefs Drive Murder

It’s notable that Marie Moore, Andrea Yates, and Banita Jacks all shared beliefs that they and/or their children are evil and that the only way to save the children is to kill them. In the Yates case, the extremist religious zealotry pushed on Andrea Yates probably was significantly responsible for the deadly outcome.

Although it does not appear being externally pushed by a religious figure leads to the murders by Moore and Jacks, their religious beliefs were at a minimum unusual. Believing one is the Antichrist (Moore) and that your children are possessed by demons (Jacks) is not common to most parents.

In all three cases, it is evident that if you mix together mental illness with religious doom and gloom that it can explode ferociously and kill innocents. Given this, it seems obvious that religious leaders pushing extreme doom and gloom views are at best irresponsible if they are encouraging such views to be held by people with known mental illness.

Government Sexism and Negligence Leads to Disasters

Without a realistic diagnosis and treatment plan, dangerously mentally ill women like these will not get better. Instead, they tend to continue their harmful ways until they eventually cause enough damage that something they do is noticed and even sexist bias can’t cover it up any more. Homicides tend to get that kind of attention, but there were many earlier signs of these women mentally spiraling downwards that should have been used to get them the help they needed and protect the people around them. These women and many like them are not mentally fit to be mothers. They are a danger to their children and families. Government agencies pretending otherwise due to their feminist biases isn’t doing a service to the women or their children.

Maternal mental illness is not taken seriously enough by CPS and the courts. Instead, it is often rewarded with endless forgiveness for dangerous and even violent transgressions of rules and laws. Even when there are fathers who would be able to better provide for their children, the government usually denies them custody as motherhood is accorded “get out of the psych ward for free” status.

Fathers & Families, in their web article What Does a Mom Have to Do to Lose Custody?, answers the question raised by the article’s title. Apparently mothers often have to murder their children to lose custody as nothing short of that will result in custody being turned over to fathers if the mothers object, even if the fathers are more sane and safe than these dangerous mothers.

Maternal Carnage Fault of American Society and Government

Make no mistake, American society and government are largely responsible for these deaths. The American penchant for stigmatizing mental illness yet making it private enables mental disorders to fester hidden and unmanaged. Combine this with the sexist bias of the American child protective services agencies and courts. The result is a recipe for disaster. Without changes throughout these incompetent and incoherent systems, we can only expect the government-enabled carnage against children and spouses of mentally ill mothers to continue.

Further Reading

Marie Moore left notes, audio tapes apologizing for murder-suicide
‘I had to send my son to heaven and myself to Hell.’

Marie Moore’s murder-suicide notes

Video shows Fla. woman aiming gun at son’s head

Video of Marie Moore Shooting Her Own Son Mitchel then Herself

Mom kills son, then self at shooting range
‘I had to send my son to heaven and myself to Hell,’ suicide note says

Mother charged in grisly deaths of her four children

D.C. Woman: “Demons” Possessed Slain Girls

Oldest Girl Was Target of Mother’s Wrath, Detective Testifies

Reports Finds DC Failed Girls Killed in Jacks Case

Mom Denies Murdering Her Newborn Son In Rancho Penasquitos

Mom Pleads Guilty In Smothering Death Of Newborn Son

Nassau County Mother Kills Children, Questions Abound

After 3 Die, Questions on Why Erratic Mother Kept Custody

Family Tried To Have Kids Removed 10 Times
Suozzi Announces Investigation Into Child Protective Services

What Does a Mom Have to Do to Lose Custody?

Police: Mom Sat On, Killed Son

Wikipedia: Andrea Yates

Wikipedia: Susan Smith

Wikipedia: Betty Broderick

Top Psycho Moms: 10 of the Worst

  1. Eliose Beda
    October 13th, 2011 at 10:59 | #1

    An Abusive Mother’s hatred for her daughter is overwheming. This is killing the loving and caring Father. Her abusive nature has separated the Father from his Family.

  2. Dee
    June 29th, 2012 at 00:00 | #2

    I am a mentally ill mother. I am trying to be the best parent I can be. I felt like the system was a bit unfair in my case. while I was a bit foggy at the ER, I said something to a nurse that sounded incriminating and was promptly investigated by child services. Even though no evidence of any abuse could be found, I feel like my diagnosis was used against me. After talking to my older child, even child services was forced to find “not indicated.” Although I was innocent of wrongdoing, I was forced to put my children in daycare, even though we could not afford it. It broke my heart to hear my kids cry in the morning because they wanted to stay home with me!

    this incident broke my trust with my psychiatrist. My desire to be a stay at home mom was a joke to everyone involved…. well, it is 5 years later and my kids are happy and healthy. I would still like an apology but I won’t hold my breath.

  3. June 29th, 2012 at 04:09 | #3


    What was the diagnosis? What were the symptoms? And how did they contend these were a risk to the kids?

    There are a huge number of mentally ill people in the US that are not a threat to anybody. Anything from mild to major depression (absent suicidal behaviors), anxiety, adjustment disorders, attachment disorders, and more are all very common and do not represent a health or safety risk to anybody. A very wide range of mental health issues can be caused by nutritional problems, hormone imbalances, or other health conditions. Psychiatrists are far too quick to pump psychotropic meds as the answer to every mental health problem when in fact many of these meds don’t work or have side effects that are worse than the symptoms of the problem.

    What I see happening is that many malicious parents attack a capable parent’s mental illness as a reason the kids should not be with them. It would not surprise me if more than 50% of parents involved in a divorce or custody dispute are “mentally ill” by some diagnosis in the DSM-IV.

    It is routine practice to persecute people when child abuse cannot be substantiated. This happens all the time to people who have done nothing wrong or who simply need some help dealing with a difficult situation such as job loss combined with a child who has special needs. There is money to be made from the Federal Government by taking a family’s children and sticking them in foster care, but apparently much less money to be made by helping the family cope. So the system tends to take drastic actions that are often abusive and illegal because it is profitable to do so.

    At the same time, parents who truly are an abusive risk to their children because of chronic behaviors (parental alienation, emotional parentification, medical care neglect, etc.) end up with sole custody by which they can continuously abuse the kids for years until they develop severe problems that will potentially last a lifetime. And these kids are being set up to repeat the same abuse cycle with their own future kids, too.

    The key to stopping all of this is to break the abuse cycle. Foster care is about the worst way to do that because foster care abuse rates are vastly higher than with biological parents or with relatives.


  1. May 11th, 2009 at 02:55 | #1
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