Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Susan Grund, Oversexed Murderess

"Mommy Hit Me"

A few months after Susan married Whited, Tommy was admitted to an Oklahoma City hospital with a fractured skull and brain swelling. Susan tearfully explained to her husband, who had not witnessed the injury, that Tommy had fallen and struck his head.

But Tommy gave another account. A nurse asked him what had happened, and the groggy boy replied, "My mommy hit me."

The early 1980s were hardly the Dark Ages. But in a provincial place like Oklahoma City in 1983, child abuse was still too often treated not as a crime but as a family problem best worked out at home.

Hospital officials failed to report the injury to police, despite Tommy's account. Susan got the benefit of the doubt, and the boy was returned to her care after several days of hospitalization.

Friends of Tommy's late mother later told author Clarkson that they suspected Susan was beating her stepson. The bubbly boy was transformed into a nervous wreck after his father remarried. He cried out in fear of a whipping when he spilled a soda, and he once told his birth mother's best friend that Susan "dropped me on my head."

The child also revealed that while stepbrother Jacob was allowed to loll around the house all day, Susan lined him up in front of the television set and demanded that he do calisthenics during "The Richard Simmons Show."

Tommy was back in the hospital four months later, in May 1983, this time unconscious and suffering from a brain hemorrhage.

Susan Whited explained that over several days he had fallen out of a shopping cart and tripped over their pet dog and hit his head on concrete. By her account, he was the clumsiest boy in America.

This time, doctors didn't buy it. They said his injuries indicated sadistic beatings over a sustained period.

They found bruises to his head, torso and limbs, along with multiple cigarette burns. There was also trauma to his rectum that indicated sexual assault.

Police were alerted, and Susan was booked on suspicion of felony child abuse. She stuck with her absurd clumsiness story, until her own son told the truth.

Detectives sat down with Jacob, who tearfully explained that his mother frequently beat Tommy for no good reason.

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