She Stole my Foetus
Channel Five - Extraordinary People
Foetal theft or the abduction of unborn babies, sounds bizarre, but the horrific reality is that it is happening.
Deborah Evans and Children
On the 16th of November 1995, in Addison, Illinois near Chicago, Deborah Evans, a 28 year old pregnant mother and her 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son were found murdered at their home. Jordan, her 19 month old son was found unharmed at her side, having lain alone for six hours before his discovery. Deborah's father, Sam Evans, said: "She was killed for her baby. They actually cut her unborn baby from her womb as she was dying."
Police launched a massive search for the child cut from Deborah's womb. She had already named him: Elijah. 2 days later the Police received a tip-off about a woman showing off a new-born baby who it was suspected was not the baby's mother.
Elijah was found alive and unharmed, in the arms of Jacqueline Annette Williams. Jospeh E. Birkett the Attorney General of DuPage County described the crime: "It's horrible, it's as bad as the human condition can get."
Fedell Caffey, Jacqueline Williams and Levern Ward
Investigators discovered that Deborah knew her killer. Jacqueline had befriended her claiming that she too was expecting her fourth child. She had, in fact, conducted an elaborate charade to convince all around her that she was pregnant. Her crime was months in the planning and showed Jacqueline as a cold, manipulative con woman.
Boyfriend Fedell Caffey protested his innocence, but the evidence said otherwise. Police also arrested Jacqueline's cousin, Levern Ward who, it transpired, was Deborah's ex-boyfriend and father of both Jordan and Elijah. Jacqueline Annette Williams will now spend the rest of her life in prison.
4 months later in Tuscaloosa, Alabama another woman's body was found with horrific abdominal injuries. She too had been 9 months pregnant. The abducted child was found with Felicia Scott in what was almost a copy cat scenario from Chicago. Psychologists and Psychiatrists began to see a pattern in the character and the behaviour of women who kill other women for their babies.
Psychiatrist Professor Michael Welner of NYU School of Medicine is undertaking a study to build a profile of offenders and the dynamics of their crimes. he believes that a key element is a past or recent relationship which has broken down or is endangered.
Psychologists who evaluated Felicia determined that she was not insane but had a personality disorder, a narcissism so extreme she could not appreciate the suffering she had inflicted upon her victim. These narcissistic tendencies mean the world revolves around the individual. Everything is about them, about what is best for them.
Professor Katherine Ramsland is one of America's leading forensic psychologists. She specialises in the workings of the criminal mind and has written over 25 books on the subject. She believes that these crimes are narcissistic in nature, where victims are moved around like pawns and the perpetrator is likely to feel victimised themselves when things go wrong.
Since Felicia Scott was sentenced to life imprisonment, there have been 5 other cases of ceasarian homicide. In every case the woman refuses to admit any responsibility or any remorse.
Until June 2004, all recorded case of foetal abduction were in the United States. This changed with Luzmilla Fierra in Hirondelle, Colombia near the capital Bogota. She is in prison on remand accused of foetal theft. She is also the first woman to talk on camera about the incident. Although, in her mind, she is the victim not the culprit.
It began in the local hospital when she noticed a pregnant woman in the waiting room. The woman started talking to her, alleges Luzmilla, she said that she had lots of problems with her husband and her husband hit her. Then she said: "she wanted me to do a favour, and the favour was she wanted me to take out her baby".
This case is different from the others as here the victim survived. It is believed that burundanga, a plant-extract sedative often used in date-rape crimes, was given to the young mother. Her name is Solangela Cartagena and she tells a very different story.
She remembers going to the hospital for an appointment she says: "I went to get a glass of water for my daughter and for myself. I left it on the table while I went to the toilet. When I came back I drank the water and after that I don't remember anything. I lost all my memory".
Police believe this was the moment when Solangela was slipped a drug. This occurred around noon. Her next memory is 6 hours later when she awoke in the woods. At her side was her 2 year old daughter Nicole. Her daughter woke her with cries of "Mum, Mum the lady left running with the baby". It was Nicole's shouts that roused Solangela and enabled her to stumble for help. She was losing a lot of blood and was fortunate to survive.
Again, it was a tip-off that led police to Luzmilla where they discovered she was already a mother of six children aged between six and fifteen.
Professor Katherine Ramsland explains that this is not about having a baby. The fixation is control. Controlling a situation or a person around you. The psychological instabilities may take the shape of getting a baby but most likely point to a deeper issue.
In common with the Chicago cases, psychiatrists believe the key element is a fragile relationship in the woman's life.