Juvenile (17) -
According to her testimony, she had heard voices
that ordered her to kill the babies by placing a blanket over
their faces. Her motive still remains unknown
Number of victims: 3 - 5 +
Date of murder: 1980 - 1982
Date of arrest:
Date of birth:
March 12, 1963
Method of murder:
Location: Calhoun/Taylor Counties, Florida, USA
Status: Found guilty of three murders on December 3, 1982 and
sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for
at least twenty five years
Christine Falling (1980-1982)
was a 17-year old babysitter from Perry, Florida who murdered at least
5 neighborhood children by suffocation because she said she heard
voices telling her to do it and prevent anyone from hearing them
She was sentenced to life
imprisonment and will be eligible for parole in 2007.
Christine Falling was born in
Perry, Florida on March 12, 1963. She was raised to a poor family, and
was obese and dull-witted.
She required a regular dose of
medication to control her epileptic seizures. While growing up she
would drop cat's from lethal heights to "test their nine lives." She
would also strangle them, as her way of showing them her "love." At
the age of nine, Christine and her sister were placed in a children's
refuge in Orlando for a year.
In September 1977, at the age of 14,
Christine was married to a man in his twenties. Their marriage lasted
six weeks due to the violent fights they would have. Christine once
threw a 25 pound stereo at her husband during on of their fights.
After the break-up, she lapsed into a bizarre hypochondriac phase,
going to the hospital fifty times for reasons such as: "red spots",
vaginal bleeding, and snakebite. Doctor's rarely found any treatable
For work, Christine would babysit
for neighbors and relatives. On February 25, one of the children she
was babysitting for, 2-year-old Cassidy Johnson, was taken to a
doctor's office and was diagnosed as suffering from encephalitis. The
girl died on February 28.
The autopsy listed the cause of
death as blunt trauma to the skull. Christine said the baby "passed
out" and fell from her crib. On physician didn't believe Falling's
story, and wrote a note to police to have the babysitter checked out.
The note was lost, and the case was closed.
Later, Christine moved on to
Lakeland, Florida. Two months after arriving, four year old Jeffrey
Davis "stopped breathing" in her care.
An autopsy revealed symptoms of
myocarditis, a heart problem which is rarely fatal.
Three day's later while Jeffrey's
family attended his funeral, Christine babysat two year old Joseph
Spring, the deceased boy's cousin. Joseph died that afternoon in his
crib, while "napping". Physicians noted there was a viral infection
that may have killed the baby Joseph, and quite possibly the baby
Jeffrey as well.
In July of 1981, Christine moved on
to housekeeping. Her bad luck wasn't getting any better when
77-year-old Wilbur Swindle died in his kitcher on her first day on
A while later, Falling, along with
her stepsister, took her 8-month-old neice to the doctor's office,
where the child received some standard childhood vaccinations. On the
way home, the stepsister stopped by the market leaving Falling alone
with the child. When she returned, the baby had simply "stopped
Christine was found to be a "victim
of circumstance", until July 2, 1982, when ten-week-old Travis Coleman
died in Falling's care. The autopsy revealed internal ruptures, caused
Christine was taken in for
questioning where she admitted to killing three of the baby's by
"smotheration", where she would press a blanket over their faces in
response to disembodied voices chanting, "Kill the baby."
"The way I done it, I seen it done
on TV show," she explained. "I had my own way, though. Simple and
easy. No one would hear them scream." Based on her confession, she was
given a term of life imprisonment, with no parole for the first 25
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial
Killers - Hunting Humans
Christine Falling, as is often the
case with serial killers had a disruptive and impoverished childhood.
She was born in 1963 in Florida, to
the sixteen-year-old Ann and the sixty-five-year old Thomas Slaughter.
Falling was developmentally disabled, prone to obesity, suffered from
fits of epilepsy and aggression, and was never able to acquire
developmental skills beyond those of a sixth-grader.
Due to the extreme poverty of her
parents, Falling and her older sister were given up for adoption to
the Falling family. Not long afterwards, the two girls found
themselves in a children’s home, because of their constant conflicts
with their adoptive parents.
By that time, Falling had already
demonstrated her violent nature, her favorite past-time being the
torturing and killing of cats to see if they really had nine lives. At
the age of twelve, Falling left the children’s home.
Two years later, she married a man
ten years older than her. The marriage soon collapsed after a series
of violent encounters between the couple. That sparked off a new and
inexplicable behavior in Falling.
Within the next couple of years she
visited the hospital multiple times, with an endless series of medical
conditions that the medical stuff was never able to diagnose. Despite
the fact that Falling was apparently suffering from mental illnesses,
she had gained a reputation as a good baby-sitter. However, at the age
of seventeen, Falling began to attack and murder the children that
were placed under her care.
On February 28, 1980, Cassidy
Johnson (aged two) died from what was assumed to be encephalitis.
Autopsy reports showed that the girl had actually succumbed to a
severe skull injury.
The police interviewed Falling, but
since no evidence could be brought against her, the matter was not
pursued any further. Shortly afterwards, Falling moved to Lakeland,
Florida, where she killed another baby under her care. Even though the
death of four-year old Jeffrey Davis was also deemed suspicious, no
extensive investigations were carried out, thus allowing Falling to
attack a new victim.
Within three days after Jeffrey’s
death, Falling was asked to baby-sit Jeffrey’s two-year-old cousin -
Joseph Spring - while the bereaved family attended Jeffrey’s
funeral.Joseph’s death was attributed to viral infection, and thus
Falling once again escaped apprehension.
After the double murder, Falling
moved to Perry, Florida where she found a job as a housekeeper in the
home of seventy-seven-year-old Wilbur Swindle.
On the first day of her job, Swindle
suddenly died in his kitchen. Due to his old age and his deteriorating
health, no suspicions arose. Falling’s next victim was her
eighteen-month-old niece who allegedly stopped breathing while under
Falling’s care. This time too, and for the last time, the vicious
serial killer was able to escape apprehension.
A year later, in 1982, ten-week-old
Travis Coleman also stopped breathing while Falling was attending to
him.An autopsy was requested, and it was discovered that the infant
had died from suffocation. Authorities immediately questioned Falling.
She confessed to having killed three
other babies by what she described as “smotheration”. According to her
testimony, she had heard voices that ordered her to kill the babies by
placing a blanket over their faces. Her motive still remains unknown.
"I don’t know why I done what I
done. The way I done it, I seen it done on TV shows.I had my own way
though.Simple and easy. No one could hear them scream" (Kelleher,
Falling was found guilty of murder
and sentenced to life imprisonment. Even though her motives have not
been satisfactorily explained and she was known to have suffered from
mental illnesses, Falling was not classified as legally insane.
The following it taken from
"Murder Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer." It is missing the table
referenced in the middle because of formatting. Hope you find it
"I DON'T KNOW WHY I DONE WHAT I
By the time she began her
murderous career at the age of seventeen, Christine Falling had
already experienced a full life of illness, frustration, and misery
which, in retrospect, seemed to irresistibly impel her to escalating
Falling (the name of her
adoptive parents), was born Christine Laverne Slaughter on March 12,
1963, in Perry, Florida. Her mother, Ann, was only sixteen at the time
of Falling's birth and had already given birth to an older sister. Her
father, Thomas, was a sixty-five-year-old woodsman who was inattentive
and violent by nature. Falling's early childhood years were marked by
persistent poverty and illness. She was severely developmentally
disabled, prone to obesity, epileptic, experienced bouts of aggressive
behavior, and throughout her life was never able to surpass sixth
grade vocabulary skills. Within a few years after her birth,
Christine and her older sister were adopted by the Falling family and
given their surname. However, the two girls found themselves in
constant conflict with their adoptive family and were eventually
placed in a children's home near Orlando, Florida, when Christine was
only nine years old.
By the time she entered the
children's home, Falling already had a striking propensity for bizarre
and violent behavior. One of her favorite pastimes was torturing and
killing cats to determine whether they really had nine lives.
Falling's caretakers at the children's home described her as an
habitual liar, a compulsive thief, and "a child who would break rules
to gain attention." Her relationships with the other children in the
refuge were horrific. Falling's obesity, poor social skills, and
intellectual deficits were a constant source of cruel commentary from
At the age of twelve, Falling
left the children's home to locate her birth mother, eventually
finding her in Blountstown, Florida. There, at the age of fourteen,
Falling met and married a local man a decade older than she. Within
six weeks of the marriage, the relationship collapsed in a chaotic
series of violent encounters and the couple permanently separated. The
failure of this relationship triggered a new era of bizarre behavior
for Falling and, over the next two years, she visited a local hospital
more than fifty times with an endless series of strange medical
conditions that could never be diagnosed. Although Falling was
thoroughly examined by physicians, she would present herself with
inexplicable and rapidly changing symptoms that invariably resulted in
her being sent home without treatment or medication.
Now in her mid-teens, Falling
earned money by baby-sitting for neighbors and friends in her mother's
hometown. Despite her unsavory appearance and obvious mental
difficulties, she somehow gained a reputation as a young woman who
deeply cared for children and was reasonably reliable in her habits.
However, at the age of seventeen, Falling began to covertly attack and
murder the children who had been placed in her care.
On February 25, 1980, Cassidy
Johnson, a two-year-old girl who had been in Falling's care was rushed
to the local doctor, suffering from life-threatening symptoms that
were assumed to be caused by encephalitis. However, when the child
died three days later, an autopsy was ordered. The examination
disclosed that Johnson had actually succumbed to blunt force trauma of
the skull. The results of the autopsy spawned an immediate
investigation, and Falling was quickly interviewed by police. She
claimed that the child had toppled from her crib and fallen
unconscious to the floor when Falling was out of the room. However,
law enforcement personnel did not believe her story. Unfortunately,
there was no evidence to contradict Falling's version of what had
happened to the child, and the matter was not pursued further.
After the death of Cassidy
Johnson, Falling moved to Lakeland, Florida, and again began
baby-sitting to support herself. Within a few months of her arrival in
Lakeland, a four-year-old boy who was in Falling's care suddenly
stopped breathing without any prior signs of illness. The death of
Jeffrey Davis was as suspicious as that of Cassidy Johnson, and an
autopsy was again ordered. The examination disclosed that the boy had
suffered from a condition that caused chronic heart inflammation;
however, this was deemed insufficient to be the cause of his death.
The medical examiner noted no other potential cause of death and the
case was closed.
Three days after the tragedy,
the bereaved aunt and uncle of Jeffrey Davis asked Falling to baby-sit
their two-year-old son, Joseph Spring, while they attended Davis's
funeral. While his parents were at the services, Joseph inexplicably
died while taking a nap. The local physician speculated that the young
boy may have succumbed to a viral infection and that the same
mysterious disease may have also accounted for the death of Jeffrey
Davis. No investigation into the deaths of the two young boys was ever
undertaken, and once again, Falling left the area, this time moving
back to Perry, Florida.
In July 1981, Falling found a
job as housekeeper to a seventy-seven-year-old invalid by the name of
Wilbur Swindle. On the first day of Falling's new job, Swindle
inexplicably died while in his kitchen, allegedly due to a heart
attack. Because of his age and poor medical condition, local
authorities did not investigate the elderly man's death.
Soon after Swindle's death,
Falling accompanied her stepsister and eight-month-old niece, Jennifer
Daniels, on some shopping errands. Daniels's mother left the baby in
her car with Falling, to make a short stop at the local supermarket;
however, when she returned, Daniels found her baby dead and Christine
Falling in a panic. According to Falling, the girl had mysteriously
stopped breathing. Once again, the death of Jennifer Daniels was
determined to be of natural causes and no investigation ensued.
A year later, on July 2, 1982, a
ten-week-old infant, Travis Coleman, also stopped breathing while in
Falling's care. Coleman's parents cooperated with an autopsy request,
and it was discovered that the infant had died from suffocation.
Falling was immediately questioned by local law enforcement officials
about the Coleman death and confessed to murdering three children by
what she described as "smotheration." She claimed that she had heard
voices ordering her to murder the children by placing a blanket over
Based on her confession,
Christine Falling received a sentence of life imprisonment with the
possibility of parole after twenty-five years. In speaking to law
enforcement officials, Falling was never able to provide a motive for
her heinous crimes, only saying: "I don't know why I done what I done.
The way I done it, I seen it done on TV shows. I had my own way,
though. Simple and easy. No one would hear them scream."
Christine Falling will be eligible for parole in
the year 2007.
Christine was very interested in looking after very
young children, unfortunately not because she loved children but
because she took pleasure in killing them. The very first murder took
place in February 1980 when Cassidy Johnson who was just two years old
became ill while in the care of Christine. He was rushed to
Tallahassee Hospital but died three days later.
It was almost a year later before she struck again.
This time it was while she was baby sitting another infant by the name
of Jeffrey Davis. As is normal in a strange death an autopsy was
performed and this seemed to show death had been caused by
myocarditis. This time it was only three days later when she murdered
again. Jeffrey's aunt and uncle wanted to attend his funeral and so
they left there own son in the care of Christine. The death of Joseph
Spring was also attributed to myocarditis but this time it was thought
to have been complicated with a viral infection. It seems incredible
that suspicion was still not aroused in fact she was even pitied to
have been the centre of such misery.
She then left the babycare world and took a job as
a housekeeper for a man living on his own. She left the job when her
employer mysteriously died and went back to caring for infants. She
was looking after the eight month old daughter of her stepsister when
she died in June 1981. His death was thought to be caused by infant
death syndrome better known as 'Cot Death'. Just over a year later in
July 1982 she was caring for ten week old Travis Coleman when he also
seemed to die of infant death syndrome. Suspicions had been raised and
again an autopsy was performed which seemed to tell a different story.
They discovered that Travis had suffered severe internal ruptures and
this added to other signs present suggested that the cause of death
was more likely to have been caused by the baby being smothered.
Christine was taken into custody and entered a
psychiatric hospital for assessment. While she was there she confessed
to the killing of three of the children but denied all knowledge of
the others. It was decided that it was not going to be easy to prove
that the other deaths were her fault and so she was only charged with
the three deaths, these were Cassidy Johnson who was the first child,
the daughter of her stepsister and Travis Coleman.
She was found guilty of the three murders and
sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for
at least twenty five years.