Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Fetal Snatchers

Triple Homicide

Fedell Caffey
Fedell Caffey
In Addison, Illinois, in 1995, a couple named Fedell Caffey and Jacqueline Williams desperately wanted a baby, and they knew of a woman, Deborah Evans, who was ready to give birth. They believed the child's father was Lavern Ward, Williams' cousin and Deborah's former boyfriend. Deborah did have a son with him, who was then nineteen months old. She also had a restraining order against Ward for domestic abuse, and he was angry enough over it to have threatened to kill her. However, Deborah had often been kind to Williams, which makes the incident even grimmer.

Lavern Ward, believed by Williams to have been the father of Deborah's child.
Lavern Ward, believed by Williams to
have been the father of Deborah's child.
The three of them entered Deborah's home on the evening of November 16, and either Williams or Caffey shot Deborah in the head, but the bullet hit bone and only incapacitated her. Ward and Caffey then stabbed her ten-year-old daughter to death to eliminate the child as a witness. While Deborah was still alive, the three offenders performed a crude cesarean section on her with a pair of kitchen shears to extract her unborn child. They then stabbed her in the neck, cleaned the baby up in the sink and left, taking Deborah's eight-year-old son, Joshua, with them. Williams and Caffey took both children to a friend's place for a while and then to their own home, where they cut Joshua's throat. They then took the body about ten miles away to dump it, returning home to attend to their new baby.

Deborah and Samantha Evans
Deborah and Samantha Evans
In the meantime, Deborah's current boyfriend came home and found her dead, with two children missing. One boy was still there, unharmed, and since he was Ward's child, suspicion fell on Ward. In addition, the friends who had seen the two children before Joshua was killed told the police about it.

Joshua Evans
Joshua Evans
Detectives caught up to all three offenders and arrested them. Willams told police that Caffey wanted a male child and had been pressuring her over it, so she had faked her pregnancy to coincide with Deborah's. She had gained weight to pass as pregnant so no one would question how she'd suddenly delivered a baby.

Jacqueline Williams
Jacqueline Williams
All were convicted at trial. Williams and Caffey went to death row, while Levern Ward received a life sentence. Then-Governor Ryan commuted all death sentences permanently when he left office in 2003. In January 2012 Williams petitioned the court to have her case reopened, "I am a very good person and feel I deserve to be back in society," she wrote. Williams has also filed a motion for executive clemency.

The baby, Elijah, was unharmed in this incident and is being raised by relatives. Both of these incidents involved a home invasion, but in the next case, the victim was lured to the lair.

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