The mother-child relationship is the most intense of all human ties. As the child grows, though, it can sometimes hit a rough patch. At moments like that, the child (usually a teenager) may scream, “You are ruining my life, and you’re the worst mother ever!” There are some cases where the ties never recover. However, it is very unlikely that you, dear reader, actually have the worst mother ever no matter how much the old girl drives you batty. Consider the competition:
First, there is Victoria Soliz. In March last year, a neighbor of Icky Vicky heard screaming around 12:30 p.m. one Friday. He went out to find her with her 3 year old, and she was pushing the kid’s face into a puddle. When the neighbor couldn’t get her to stop, he went and called the police. While he was doing that, Vicky moved the child to a bigger puddle — apparently, it’s hard to drown a 3 year old in a small puddle. When the Maricopa County, Ariz., police arrived, they arrested her for felony child abuse (nothing gets past the cops in Arizona). When asked why she did it, Soliz said that Jesus had told her to. It turns out she was self-medicating herself with crystal meth to treat schizophrenia.
And who could forget Casey Anthony? You will recall this circus of a case revolved around Caylee Anthony, a 2 year old, who vanished in June 2008 from her Florida home. Mommy Casey took her away for 31 days. Granny asked to see Caylee repeatedly, but Casey was busy with work, the kid was with a nanny or they were all at a theme park. Eventually, they found Caylee in a swamp stuffed into a suitcase. Casey beat the murder rap (they can’t seem to get anything right in Florida), but was convicted of messing up the investigation.
Another contender for The Worst Mother Ever is Susan Diane Hendricks. When the police arrived at her South Carolina home in 2011, the official report said Susan “stated her son has been suicidal in the past and has had problems with controlled substances. She stated that she had been at the residence all night and did not hear any gunshots. She stated her son had left her a note on the kitchen counter.” Her husband, both sons and mother-in-law were dead from gunshot wounds. The cops determined that her statements were inconsistent with forensic evidence and grew very suspicious when life insurance policies on the dead named Susan as the beneficiary. She was convicted on four counts of murder … and what a great mom to blame the son she killed for the whole thing.
Hendricks wasn’t the first mother to whack her kids for an insurance payday. Back in 1886, Sarah Jane Robinson of Massachusetts did the same. She was a member of the United Order of Pilgrim Fathers which provided cheap life insurance to the working class. The officers of the Order grew suspicious when her son William was on his death bed just six months after his sister Lizzie had died. The officers of the Order checked with the police and learned the cops were investigating Sarah Jane in connection with the death of her nephew a few weeks earlier. In the end, she was convicted in eight homicides — all poisoning by arsenic. She died in prison.
However, my choice for The Worst Mother Ever is Marybeth Tinning. For a 14-year-period, she was a regular visitor to the emergency room in Schenectady, N.Y. She usually turned up in a state of hysteria with a baby in her arms either dead or near dead. In 1985, her youngest Tami Lynne was found dead in her home. She was convicted of this murder. The worst part of it was little Tami Lynne was the NINTH child to die while home alone with Marybeth (one of them was adopted, the rest were her biological children). At a recent parole hearing, she was asked if she remembered why she did it. “It’s just — I can’t remember. I mean, I know I did it, but I can’t tell you why. There is no reason.”
Asked if she remembered smothering her daughter with a pillow, Marybeth said, “No. After the fact I remembered, but I don’t remember why.”
And you think your mother ruined your life by telling you that you couldn’t go to the mall with your friends? May I recommend a bigger bouquet of flowers this year?
Jeff Myhre is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.