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The Baby-Roast, also known as The Hippy Babysitter and The Cooked Baby, is an urban legend in which a baby is roasted alive at home, usually during the absence of a parent. The Straight Dope, a newspaper column devoted to exposing myths, reported that it "is one of the classic urban legends", however, there have been real life instances where babies have been roasted.
In some versions, the baby is accidentally cooked when miscommunication occurs. For example, "put the turkey in the oven and the baby in the bed" is wrongly heard as "put the baby in the oven and the turkey in the bed". Other variants set out that the doer of the deed was drug or alcohol-induced or an insane individual. In the end, the roasted baby is sometimes served as food to be consumed by the parents.
The person who roasts the baby is usually a babysitter or the baby's sibling.
In real life, there have been documented occurrences of babies being roasted, though by family members instead of strange babysitters. When Virginian Elizabeth Renee Otte roasted her baby in 1999, the incident was cited as causing the legend to become true. In November 2006, a second case of real-life baby-roasting was reported.
In February 2012, Ka Yang of California was charged with roasting her seven-week-old baby to death in a microwave. In her defence, she claimed she was having a "seizure fit" when it happened. In May 2012, a British citizen was arrested by Thai police after being found in possession of six corpses of roasted infants, some wrapped in gold leaf, reportedly in conformity with a "black magic ritual". In Siberia in January 2013, a roasted, dismembered baby was found by its mother, the alleged perpetrator being the infant's intoxicated uncle.
On November 16, 2015, a one-year old baby, J'Zyra Thompson, died after her three-year-old sibling put her in the oven and cooked her alive. Their mother, Racqual Thompson, left her four kids at home, which included a five-year-old and a two-year-old, when they went to pick up a pizza. When they returned home, Thompson found her J'Zyra's body cooked in the oven. Thompson and her boyfriend of ten months, 21-year-old Cornell Malone, were charged with endangering a child and are awaiting trial.
In March 2016, a 35-year-old mother in Texas showed up naked at her neighbor's door with her partially burned and naked 2-year-old daughter. When police arrived, she confessed that she had put the girl in the oven along with a cat she had recently shot dead, while making sexual advances toward an officer and singing praise to God. According to an affidavit from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, she seemed unconcerned with her daughter while in hospital and jail, where she was charged with injury to a child with serious bodily injury and tested positive for alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine. The girl was put in foster care.
In popular culture
The song 'Babysitter on Acid' by the all-female punk rock band, Lunachicks is a retelling of the Urban Legend. The teenage babysitter, under the influence of drugs, roasts the baby in the oven and tells the mother over the phone that the "turkey's almost done". The song was released on their 1990 album 'Babysitters On Acid'.
- Jan Harold Brunvand (1 January 2001). Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. ABC-CLIO. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-1-57607-076-5.
- "Did a stoned babysitter once microwave a baby?". The Straight Dope. February 3, 1984.
- Jan Harold Brunvand (2001). The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story. University of Illinois Press. pp. 55–. ISBN 978-0-252-07004-4.
- Timberg, Craig (September 28, 1999). "Mother Charged in Baby's Death". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Greene, Thomas C. (November 28, 2006). "Mom cooks baby in microwave oven - police". The Register.
- "Mother 'burned her baby to death in microwave because she was having a seizure fit'". Daily Mail. February 23, 2012.
- "Thai police arrest man after babies' bodies found roasted, wrapped in gold leaf". msn. May 12, 2013.
- Stewart, Will (January 24, 2013). "Drunk uncle 'chopped up 18-month-old niece then roasted body parts in the oven' while looking after toddler for her mother".
- Damali, Keith (November 20, 2015). "Mother speaks only on FOX after baby dies in oven".
- "Glen Rose mother was high before she put daughter in oven, officials say", by Claire Z. Cardona, Dallas News Crime Blog
- Goodin, Dan (August 21, 2009). "Baby-roasting BBQ pulled from Sears site". The Register.