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Christine FALLING

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (17) - Babysitter - 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: July 1982
Date of birth: March 12, 1963
Victim profile: Children
Method of murder: Suffocation
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
 
 

 
 
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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 scream.

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 symptoms.

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 the job.

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 breathing."

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 by suffocation.

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 years.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


Christine Falling

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.

She said:

"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, 176).

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.


Christine Falling

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 useful.

"I DON'T KNOW WHY I DONE WHAT I DONE."

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 violence.

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 her peers.

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 their faces.

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 Falling

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.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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