Child murder

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Pedicide, child murder, or child homicide is the homicide of an individual who is a minor.

Punishment by jurisdiction[edit]

Child murderer, Albert Fish

United States[edit]

In 2008, there were 1,494 child homicides in the United States. Of those killed, 1,035 were male and 452 were female.[1]

Several U.S. states have included child murder to their list of aggravating factors that may make a murder punishable by the death penalty, but the victim’s age under which the crime is a capital crime varies between them. In 2011, Texas raised this age from six to ten.[2]

Child manslaughter can result in an aggravated charge in some jurisdictions such as the State of Florida.[3]

By other children[edit]

18th century illustration of William York, age 10, murdering Susan Matthew, age 5, on 13 May 1748, from The Newgate Calendar.

In most countries, there are very few cases where children are killed by other young children. According to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics for 1996,[citation needed] one in five murders of children were committed by other children. Several murders by children have gained prominent media exposure. One was the killing on 12 February 1993 of the almost 2-year-old boy James Bulger by two 10-year-old boys in Bootle, Merseyside, UK. He was beaten and stoned before his unconscious body was left on train tracks to give the impression that a train had hit him. Another notable case in the UK occurred in 1968 in Newcastle upon Tyne, when 10-year-old Mary Bell was convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility in the deaths of toddlers Martin Brown and Brian Howe. She was released in 1980 at the age of 23.[citation needed] In 1998, 8-year-old Madelyn Clifton was killed by 14-year-old Josh Phillips.

Media coverage[edit]

Jammu Siltavuori, also notoriously known as "Uncle Jammu", murdered two eight-year-old girls in 1989.[4][5]

In 1992, after the fatal shooting of 7-year-old Dantrell Davis as he left the Cabrini–Green public housing project for school, the Chicago Tribune put every child murder on the front page (generally no murders were front-page news). 62 child murders were reported that year.

Multiple deaths in one incident, such as the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, tend to gather the most media attention but are statistically scarce.

Genocide and child soldiers[edit]

The military use of children refers to children being placed in harm's way in military actions, in order to protect a location or provide propaganda. This is sometimes referred to as child sacrifice, though not equivalent to the religious variety. It may also refer to the use of children as child soldiers or saboteurs.

Red Hand Day on February 12th is an annual commemoration day to draw public attention to the practice of using children as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts.

"Muti killings"[edit]

Medicine murder (often referred to as muti killing) is a practice of human sacrifice and mutilation associated with traditional medicinal practices, such as Muti. Victims of muti killings are often children. Organs and/or body parts are usually taken while the child is still alive. An unknown child (referred to as Adam), whose decapitated torso was found in the River Thames in London in 2002 is believed to have been the victim of a muti killing.[6]

Murdered children of royalty[edit]

A painting from 1835 by Theodor Hildebrandt with the title The Murder of the Sons of Edward IV depicting Edward V of England and his brother Richard of York about to be killed

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2009). Crime in the United States: Uniform Crime Report, 2008. Retrieved from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2010-08-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "AN ACT relating to the murder of a child as a capital offense". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  3. ^ The 2015 Florida Statutes
  4. ^ "Episode 004: Uncle Jammu". True Crime Finland. September 8, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  5. ^ Nodes of Contemporary Finnish Literature - Oapen
  6. ^ "Torso murder reward offered". BBC News. 21 December 2001. Retrieved 28 April 2010.