Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Female Mass Murderers: Major Cases and Motives

Depression and Despair

Khoua Her
Khoua Her

A 911 operator received a call on Sept. 3, 1998 from a woman speaking broken English reporting that she had just slaughtered her children.

The woman who made the call was 24-year-old Khoua, a Minnesota mother who strangled her six children, ages 5 to 11, because she was apparently depressed and overwhelmed.

When the police arrived at the home, they found her with an extension cord loosely tied around her neck in an apparent suicide attempt. They transported her to the hospital, while another team looked around the house and found the murdered children. 

Her was no was no stranger to police, who had been to the house 15 times in less than two years in response to domestic violence calls. Her's estranged husband had said she pulled a gun on him, but social workers had not noted any conditions that posed such danger to the children that they ought to be removed from their mother's care. 

During the course of the investigation, police learned that Her had her first child at age 13 in a Thai refugee camp.  She also had a short temper and often neglected her kids.  At times, she refused to touch them.  In a plea deal, Khoua Her received 50 years in prison on six counts of second-degree murder.