Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Darlie Routier: Doting Mother/Deadly Mother

Graveside Party

The most bizarre of post-murder episodes was yet to take place in what became the state's case against Darlie Lynn Routier. It was a birthday party eerily held graveside to celebrate Devon's seventh birthday posthumously!

Darlie and Darin Routier, infant Drake, Darlie's mother, 16-year-old-sister Dana who still lived at home with the elder Mama Darlie, and a few invited personal friends were the celebrants. Local television station KXAS-TV was on hand to record the strange event. Darlie told Joe Munoz, a reporter, that the family had planned a whopping birthday prior to her son's death and that she saw no reason now why he should have it deprived. To many of the NBC media crew on hand at Rest Haven Memorial Park that morning of June 14, it seemed like one of three things: either a bad PR attempt of Darlie's, a sincere but na´ve show of goodwill done in poor taste...or simple, plain, unmitigated lunacy.

Neither the Routiers nor the TV crew were aware that Jimmy Patterson's investigators were recording the party from a concealed camcorder, a microphone also having been planted nearby to catch any possible confessional remark.

A pastor opened the 45-minute ceremony over the grave, yet unmarked by a headstone. His sincere attempts to sanctify the moment, however, were overshadowed by what happened when he finished his eulogy. As horrified home viewers watched, Darlie began spraying a can of Silly String across the newly padded ground, laughing, chewing bubble gum and singing Happy Birthday. "I love you, Devon and Damon!" she cried.

To justify her actions, she afterward told Munoz, "If you knew (my sons), you'd know that they are up there in heaven having the biggest birthday party we could ever imagine. And though our hearts are breaking, they wouldn't want us to be unhappy. But they'll be a part of us always."

Responding to questions about her boys' mystery killer, she said, "The only thing that keeps me going is the hope that they will find that person. I have faith in God. I believe He will direct the police to that man."

Four days after the birthday party, on January 18, the Rowlett Police Department arrested Darlie Routier for the murder of her two children.

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