Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Fetal Snatchers

Good Samaritan

Valerie Lynn Oskin
Valerie Lynn Oskin

In Manor, Pennsylvania, northeast of Pittsburgh, Valerie Lynn Oskin was waiting to give birth in another month, but her next-door neighbor, Peggy Jo Conner, was not about to wait any longer. She had watched as Valerie's pregnancy developed and then on October 14, 2005, she made her move. Going to Valerie's house with a baseball bat, Conner, 38, smashed her over the head, knocking her out. She then got Valerie into her car, drove around for a while and then went to a secluded area fifteen miles away. There she pulled Valerie from a car and used a razor blade to start cutting along a scar from a previous cesarean section. She managed to inflict a wound six-to-eight inches long. By some reports, she had delivered the baby.

Adam (left) & Andrew Silvis, Adam's father
Adam (left) & Andrew Silvis, Adam's father

However, the area she'd selected was not as isolated as she'd hoped, and around 5:00 that afternoon, seventeen-year-old Adam Silvis drove by on an all-terrain vehicle. He spotted Valerie on the ground by the car, lying in a pool of blood, and inquired if she needed help. Conner attempted to convince him that all was well. He didn't believe her, but didn't let on that he was concerned. He told Conner he was going to check on his tree stand and drove away. Conner apparently smiled and waved. He then headed home to alert his father to the weird situation. They checked it out, and Conner seemed to be incoherent, so Silvis called the police, who rescued Valerie and placed Conner under arrest.

Allegheny General Hospital
Allegheny General Hospital

Valerie, 30, was transported to Allegheny General Hospital, where she and her baby were saved with an emergency C-section. When she revived she recalled that she'd been attacked and she identified her neighbor as the person who had hit her with a bat. Two other neighbors had actually seen Conner taking Valerie, bleeding, from her trailer home that morning, but had not thought to alert anyone. Conner had also put Valerie's seven-year-old son in the car, dropping him off at another house before driving to the woods.

Peggy Jo Conner
Peggy Jo Conner

Conner was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and aggravated assault on an unborn child. She had a baby swing and bassinet in her home, in preparation to bring the baby there. She had also told her live-in partner that she was pregnant and he insisted he had a sonogram that she'd given him to prove it. He said he'd felt the baby kick in her stomach. She'd already had three children, ages 11, 14, and 16, and he said she was not capable of committing this atrocious act. In fact, he said, the two women were close friends. They were "pregnant together" and helping each other.

After the ordeal is over, Adam Silvis Hugs Oskins
After the ordeal is over, Adam Silvis Hugs Oskins

When the case got to court, Oskin testified against Conner, who then pled guilty. On May 22, 2007, Conner was given a prison sentence of 22 to 50 years. She apologized through tears, insisting she had been on drugs and was not "that kind of person." However, no drugs had been found in her home or her body. Court psychologists indicated that she had deep-seated psychological issues, including depression and bipolar disorder.

The baby, which survived, was put up for adoption apparently the plan all along. Valerie has indicated that she still suffers from nightmares, and her son is now terrified of being alone.

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