Christine Falling is a female serial killer
, and is also known as the Caretaker killer
. By the time she was 18, she killed six people while working as a babysitter
and later caretaker
Falling was born on March 12, 1963 to the sixteen-year-old Ann and the sixty-five-year old Thomas Slaughter. She was obese and of below-average intelligence, and epileptic, which required her to take seizure medication daily. Due to her family’s poverty she was given up for adoption and drifted from shelter to shelter. As is a common trait amongst serial killers, the young Falling enjoyed torturing animals, dropping cats from heights or strangling them, explaining it as showing her “love” for them and “testing their nine lives”.
Falling was married by age 14 to a man a decade older than her, and the marriage crumbled after nearly constant fighting. She then became a hypochondriac briefly, going to the hospital as many as fifty times a week for symptoms such as “red spots”, vaginal bleeding and snakebite.
Falling began to work as a babysitter for neighbors. On February 25, 1980 one of the children she was babysitting for, Cassidy Johnson, was taken to a doctor's office and was diagnosed as suffering from encephalitis. The 2-year-old died on February 28. The autopsy listed the cause of death as blunt trauma to the skull. Falling said the baby "passed out" and fell from her crib. One physician didn't believe Falling's story, and wrote a note to police to have the babysitter checked out. The note was lost, and the case was closed.
Later, Falling moved to Lakewood, Florida. Two months afterwards, she would kill 4-year-old Jeffrey Davis, then days after that his cousin Joseph Spring while their families were attending Jeffrey’s funeral. Both times doctors found some signs of viral infection.
By July 1981 Falling had begun working as a caretaker for the elderly in Perry, Florida, where 77-year-old William Swindle died in his kitchen her first day on the job. Falling would later kill her eight-month-old niece while her mother was at a grocery.
On July 2, 1982, ten-week-old Travis Coleman died in Falling’s care. The autopsy revealed internal damage caused by suffocation. Falling was taken in for questioning where she admitted to killing three of the baby's by "smotheration", where she would press a blanket over their faces in response to disembodied voices chanting, "Kill the baby."
"The way I done it, I seen it done on TV show," she explained. "I had my own way, though. Simple and easy. No one would hear them scream." Based on her confession, she was given a term of life imprisonment, with no parole for the first 25 years. Even though her motives have not been satisfactorily explained and she was known to have suffered from mental illnesses, Falling was not classified as legally insane.
Sources: Kelleher, M.& C. Murder Most Rare: The female serial killer, London, Pragger, 1998.