The story of Marybeth Tinning and her nine deceased children is one of the worst cases of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy in the history of the disorder. Between the years of 1967 and 1985, Marybeth, a wife and mother in upstate New York, gave birth to and buried every one of her babies and young children, often within months of one another.
The eldest, Barbara Ann, was born in 1967. By 1972, both little Barbara and her two siblings had died, starting with eight-day-old Jennifer, who is the only Tinning child believed to have died of natural, medically explained causes. The rest died inexplicably, all dead before they were old enough to attend kindergarten. Most were too young to walk or talk.
Marybeth repeatedly sought the attention of medical professionals, but no one spoke up to say that her actions were suspicious. They examined each child for symptoms, found none, and sent Marybeth home, where her child would die soon after. Marybeth was always the one to find them, blue and unresponsive. By the fifth death, doctors were calling the cause of most of these deaths Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The belief began to circulate in the town of Schenectady, New York, that the Tinning family suffered from "a death gene." Marybeth was asked by concerned acquaintances and family members why she continued to bring more babies into the world since they seemed destined to die so young. Marybeth said she was a woman and that’s what women are supposed to do.
After fourteen years of deaths, Marybeth Tinning was finally arrested for the murders of Barbara Ann, Joseph, Jennifer, Mary Francis, Timothy, Nathan, Michael, Jonathan, and Tami Lynne Tinning. The autopsy of her youngest, Tami Lynne, had shown signs of manual suffocation. Marybeth has told varying stories about her involvement. To this day, her husband, the father to her 9 dead children, stands by Marybeth.
Join us at the quiet end today for an unbelievable and startling story of murder, followed by a discussion of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, Child Protective Agencies, and the criminal justice system.
I’ve asked Dick to bring in a heavy hitting beer today because this case can really be not only upsetting but incredibly frustrating. As a mother---hell, as a human being---I just cannot understand how this woman was able to repeat these horrible acts over and over with no one intervening to protect the most innocent victims.