Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mom Accused of Chaining Up, Stabbing Son ‘Heard Voices’

Maisa Alvarez, 42. Police photo.

A Lake Wales, Fla., mother is charged with attempted murder for an alleged Tuesday stabbing attack that left her 7-year-old son riddled with wounds. Investigators say Maisa Alvarez, 42, confessed in an interview that she heard voices telling her to kill her son. She allegedly told police she went into the kitchen and got two knives, initially planning to kill herself. She then allegedly went into her son’s room, chained his arms together by the wrists, and started stabbing him in the arms and chest. When the boy awoke and asked her, “What are you doing?,” police say Alvarez stopped and called 911. When police arrived, they found “A bloody bedroom, blood on the blankets, blood on the floor,” according to Lake Wales police deputy Troy Schulze.

Alvarez is being held without bail. The boy was hospitalized and then released to his father following treatment.

There have been several high-profile cases of mothers who claimed to have heard voices compelling them to kill their kids. Most notable perhaps is the case of Andrea Yates, a Texas mother who systematically drowned her five children in a bathtub in June, 2001. Yates was suffering from postpartum psychosis, and believed that she was possessed by Satan and had to kill her children to save them from herself and from hell. Yates was initially found guilty of murder but her conviction was later overturned and a jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity. She remains at a  low security state mental hospital in Kerrville, Texas.

Another famous case is that of Deanna Laney, another Texas mother who believed herself to be the “spiritual sister” of Andrea Yates. While media coverage surrounding the Yates case was in full swing, Laney began to see signs. First, she saw her two-year-old, Aaron, playing with a spear. Then, Aaron brought her a rock. Later, when Laney saw him squeeze a frog, she understood what the signs meant: God was telling her to kill her children, either by stabbing them, stoning them or strangling them. Laney chose stoning. On Mother’s Day, 2003, Laney took her three boys outside one by one and smashed their skulls with rocks. When she was done, she called 911. Joshua, 6, and Luke, 8, were dead, but little Aaron managed to survive with brain damage. Like Yates, Laney was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Slideshow: Yates Family Album

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