There are several newsworthy accounts of Munchausen syndrome by proxy in recent history, which have made the news. This article briefly details the crimes of two women one a mother and the other a nurse. Each have multiple counts of murder against them, and went to prison.
One of longest unpunished cases was the case of a mother in upstate New York who had five children between 1965 and 1971. All of them died at the hand of the woman who gave birth to them, the youngest was a month and a half, and the oldest was two and a half years old. At the time of each child was thought to have died as the result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome more commonly called SIDS.
It was not until an official investigation was launched in 1992 was the end near for their mother Waneta Hoyt. After a trial in 1995, Mrs. Hoyt was sentenced to five life terms for causing the deaths of her babies: Eric, Julie, James, Molly, and Noah. This case not only sent ripples through our local area but worldwide.
The primary doctor of the two youngest Hoyt children wrote a paper on SIDS, and because the last two children in the family died in the same manner as their siblings, he was convinced that SIDS ran in families. That is how his paper read, and it became widely regarded as the cause of all SIDS deaths. That doctor never considered the possibility that the mother was killing her own children. It is speculated that Mrs. Hoyt had Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
She was nicknamed the ‘Angel of Death’ and a nurse at a hospital in England. Within fifteen days she killed, four babies whom she was caring for, and injured another nine during that time. Ms. Alliott would inject her small patients with potassium chloride or insulin. The potassium would cause a heart attack while the insulin would make the babies hypoglycemic.
She was discovered when the thirteenth child came down with similar symptoms as the others. It was learned that she was alone with all the babies when they suffered from her actions. The nurse went to prison in 1993where she is currently serving life.
To all the staff and parents prior to her capture, Ms. Alliott seemed to be an angel, caring for the children, and rocking them to sleep. One couple even made the nurse the Godparent of their daughter; of course, this was without the knowledge that the infant was already injected with the medicines, which would leave her paralyzed, brain damaged and deaf. The parents did not realize at that time that the nurse had killed the infant’s twin sister.