Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Munchhausen Syndrome and Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy

How to Identify a Dangerous Mother

One of the keys to knowing if the mother is a psychopath and the kids are in harm's way is to note the outlandishness of the mother's stories. Baron von Munchausen wasn't the only one to tell a bizarre tale. One of the hallmarks of psychopathy is telling stories to get people's attention and to increase one's stature. The psychopath may get away with some of these lies, but often he or she lacks the ability to stay within the realm of possibility or back up the story with credible facts. Male psychopaths often claim they are in special ops or covert operations in the military, or that they are agents with the CIA or FBI. They claim that people attack them or rob them or have hitmen after them. Female psychopaths often claim they have been sexually assaulted, that people are trying to poison them, or that they are being stalked.

When it comes to MSBP mothers, the stories they tell about their children often involve child abuse by the spouse (sexual or physical) or physical symptoms of illness. They drag their kids to doctors and get them tested to the point where some of them actually become ill from the overuse of medications or exploratory surgeries. Some children become mentally ill from constantly being told they are sick. Other children are forced into the psychiatrist's office to discuss the horrible abuse they're suffering at the hands of some evil person. Eventually, the children may "remember" the abuse and begin to fear the designated abuser. There are often unusual symptoms and strange assault techniques that shouldn't puzzle the professionals, but alert them to the possibility someone is a big liar.

If the stories don't do the trick, some MSBP mothers will actually injure or poison the child to get attention. But whether it is physical abuse or emotional abuse, the children are at serious risk if they in the care of the mother.

Montel Williams
Montel Williams

After appearing on The Montel Williams Show, I received this request for help from a mother. Even on first reading, red flags went up.

(The following emails have been edited for brevity; the spelling and grammar, however, have not been corrected.)

"My name is Mary. I am the mother of four children. In August, my then seven year old daughter told me that she witnessed her then five year old sister being raped by four boys in school in the presence of two teachers. No one in my town will help find out who or why. I contact the police but they refuse to do an investigation. There was also drugs involved. The girls were abducted from school for a period of time and later returned. I still have the bloody clothes that my daugther wore that day. The police refused to except this as evidence. Please help me help my family. The people who has done this is still out there."

It seemed mighty odd to me that teachers would be cooperating in the rape of a child in their classroom. It was my guess this touch was added as "proof" the incident occurred. The second letter got more incredible. She was working hard to convince me of the veracity of her account.

"My daughter that was raped she is now 6 years old. My then seven year old daughter is the one that told me what happened. She said that she heard her sister screaming from her classroom; so she asked her teacher to leave to check on her. When she did, she said that my daughter's shorts was down and a white boy was putting a pencil in her pee-pee. There was two tan boys kissing her and one black boy shaking on top of her (the five year old).

"She said when she walked into the classroom the one of the teachers what was present said, 'Shut-up, you brat, cause she needed to have it done to her anyway!' At that time another teacher walked in; she and my seven year old took the boys off top of the five year old. My seven year old was then made to take her into the bathroom and clean up the blood from her legs. This is where things really start getting weird.

"She said they went into the lunchroom and one of the lunch lady's offered her little sister some candy. They told her no. But the candy was forced on her anyway. But before she was made to eat the candy, she said that two other boys ate the candy and supposedly died. I know that this cannot be true, but I do believe that this way some type of role play used to intimidate the children into not telling their parents. She then said that they were made to sit in the principal's office there someone women in a big van picked them up and carried them to a woman's house. They took off my daughter's clothes and attempted to wash the blood stains from her clothes.

"Then they went to the zoo, an auto-dealership, and Chucky Cheese's. My daughter also said that they were taken to Ms. Lee's office. She said they got shots in their arms and behind their legs; the room began to spin. "Narcotic." She said then they returned back to the lady's house to put back on her sister's clothes and then taken back to school. But when they got on the bus some boy kicked my daughter in the face; she began to bleed from the nose and her pee-pee.

"They took them to the office and made them wait until all the other bus left. They were taken to a different house this time. They attempted to wash her clothes again. But they didn't have enough time to dry them. When I touched her clothes; they were damp and smell fresh as if they were just wash. But her shorts reeked of urine. Since this she has problems holding her urine and sometimes her bowels.

"I went to the police. They said there was no case. But ten days after, all four of my children were removed from my home. Even my three year old twin boys who were not involved. When we went to court my husband nor I were allowed to testify. They cut-out portions of my hair and my daughters' hair. Nothing was found. My children were in foster care for ten days. The judge said that I was too overly zealous to find the truth. But in the same voice said I did everything I was suppose to and if I didn't I would be neglecting my children.

"After ten days, my children remained in the custody of my brother and a sister-in-law. The reason being I was told to undergo psychological testing. I took a 500 question test by a licensed counselor and not a doctor. He and I spoke for about 45 minutes. His report said that I showed possibly symptoms of narcissm and paranoia. After his report, I was then sent to a doctor and another counselor and they said nothing was founded. Still, after that, my children was kept from me.

"Then three weeks before Christmas my children was returned. The social worker apologized for what I underwent. The reason, I am seeking your help is because I need someone honest and from the outside to help my family. Also those little boys and those adults are still out there; what happened to my girls was there first time and I believe in my heart that it wouldn't be the last. Those boys and there parents need help also. Anything you can do to help, would be so greatly appreciated."

Are you exhausted just from reading this story? I was! The weird happenings kept getting stranger and stranger. Obviously, it didn't take a rocket scientist or criminal profiler to figure out that this woman was fabricating these incidents. The woman was contacted, but when she was asked specific questions that related to her own behavior, she suddenly didn't need help so desperately and never replied back. Although social services was contacted, as far as I know, nothing was ever done about leaving these children in Mary's care. I never received a phone call from the authorities, and although they knew what I was talking about, they didn't seem all that interested in the case.


Pat Brown, recent
Pat Brown, recent

The situation seems pretty clear to me. Either the police are allowing an entire school of perverted adults and children to rape and abuse at will (a trifle unlikely) or something is seriously wrong with Mary. Take your pick, but it seems that if nothing was done, then someone dropped the ball. My guess is, when nothing physical could be proven and no arsenic in the hair or other clear signs of poisoning were found, the case was simply dropped. The mother was perhaps considered to be schizophrenic or had some other sort of mental disturbance, but not necessarily a danger to her children. She was just slightly nuts. No one had the knowledge, or perhaps courage to label her a psychopath. The children remained in a terribly dangerous situation, and we can only cross our fingers and hope they survived it.



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