Christine Laverne Slaughter|
12 March 1963
Perry, Florida, United States
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment|
Span of crimes
|Imprisoned at||Homestead, Florida|
Childhood and Youth
Christine Laverne Slaughter was the youngest child in an unusual family; her father, Thomas, was 65 years old at the time of her birth, while her mother Ann was, at the age of 16, still a minor. The family was below the poverty line, and Christine did not receive the necessary early childhood support. Because of this, she was considered mentally retarded; she also suffered from epilepsy.
When her parents could no longer afford to support her, and also because of ongoing arguments between them, Christine spent some of her childhood and youth in various orphanages. She compensated for her insecurities and pent-up anger by killing small animals, especially domestic cats, at an early age. In order to test their "nine lives", as she later justified her actions, she often caused the animals to fall from heights.
In September 1977 the 14-year old Christine was forced by her parents to marry a 20-year old man called Falling. But the marriage, which resulted in almost daily quarrels and altercations, ended in divorce after only six weeks. After that, she became seriously ill. In the next two years, she had to be hospitalized 50 times. She sufferd from hallucinations, complained of "red dots" that appeared before her eyes, and menstrual bleeding at irregular levels. At the age of 16 she was diagnosed as incapacitated on medical instructions.
In order to make money Falling began working as a babysitter for neighbours and friends.
On February 25, 1980, 2-year old Cassidy Johnson was sent to a doctor's office in Blountstown, Florida. She was diagnosed with meningitis caused by tramatic brain injuries. Three days later, the girl died from internal injuries. Christine Falling, who had been babysitting for her, said that Cassidy had fallen out of her crib. The attending physician did not believe Falling, and recommended on a police notepad to check Christine. However, this note was lost on its way to the Police Department.
Shortly after the death of Cassidy Johnson, Falling moved to Lakeland, Florida. Two months later, in early summer 1980, 4-year old Jeffrey Davis died while under her supervision. The autopsy pointed to myocarditis as the cause of death; however, the doctors doubted whether this alone had caused Jeffrey's death. Three days later his funeral took place and Falling was asked to oversee his cousin, 2-year old Joseph Spring. He died a few hours later, doctors diagnosing a viral infection.
In July 1981, Falling left Lakeland and returned to her hometown of Perry in Northern Florida. As few families wanted to entrust their children to her care, she began to work as a nursing assistant for seniors; 77-year old William Swindle died in his kitchen on the same day that Falling had started caring for him.
In the fall of the same year, the daughter of Christine's half-sister, 8-month old Jennifer Daniels died. While Christine's half-sister had gone to the supermarket she left her daughter with Christine for a few moments in the car, during which time the girl stopped breathing. Doctors suspected Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to be the cause of death.
The turning point of the enigmatic death streak was the death of 10-week old Travis Coleman, who died on July 2, 1982, while Christine was taking care of him in Blountstown. At the autopsy the doctors found internal injuries that could only have been caused by suffocation. When the police contacted Falling, she confessed to murdering three of the children because she had heard voices telling her "Kill the baby". She had suffocated the children with pillows and blankets.
Christine Falling was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1982, her confession preventing her from getting the death penalty. An application for parole was rejected by the Parole Board in 2006. Falling is imprisoned in a prison in Homestead, Florida.
- Michael Newton: The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. 5. updated and expanded edition. Verlag für Sammler, Graz 2009, ISBN 978-3-85365-240-4, 534 page.
- Peter Murakami, Julia Murakami: Dictionary of Serial Killers. 450 case studied of a pathological killing type. Ullstein Tb, München 2000, ISBN 3-548-35935-3, 639 pages.
- Michael Newton: The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers.
- Mara Bovsun: The casual horror behind Christine Falling, the Florida baby-sitter from hell, article from November 17, 2012 on nydailynews.com, accessed on April 15, 2016