Pushing Up Lilies

Parricide: Why Do Kids Kill Their Parents?

Episode Summary

In this episode of Pushing Up Lilies, we delve into the haunting phenomenon of parricide—the unthinkable act of children taking the lives of their own parents and siblings. Join me as we unravel the stories behind these chilling cases, seeking to understand the motives, the psychological underpinnings, and the aftermath of parricide. Through a forensic lens, we examine the intricate details that surround these heart-wrenching incidents, challenging our perceptions and sparking a conversation about the factors that lead children to commit the ultimate betrayal. Listener discretion is advised.

Episode Notes


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Episode Transcription

0:06 Welcome to Pushing Up Lilies.

0:08 I'm your host, Julie Mattson.

0:10 Pushing Up Lilies is a weekly True crime podcast with spine tingling, unusual and terrifyingly true stories from my perspective as a forensic death investigator and a sexual assault nurse examiner.

0:24 Do I have some stories for you?

0:26 Are you ready?

0:31 Here we are y'all in March!

0:33 I cannot believe that it's already March.

0:37 Still having weird, weird weather in Texas.

0:40 It was 92 degrees the other day and then the next day it was in the fifties.

0:45 It's completely unpredictable, but I have to admit I do really love it because I don't know, it's beautiful.

0:53 We haven't really had a lot of rain.

0:55 We haven't had any ice or anything.

0:58 Like we had a couple of years ago.

1:00 I just love the weather.

1:01 It feels like spring already.

1:03 Sometimes it's just barely cool during the day, but I am absolutely loving it.

1:11 I hope everyone's having decent weather where you're at.

1:13 I know that's not always what we expect this time of year, especially up north, but wanted to talk this week a little bit about Paris side and I think that we've talked about similar subjects before, and this always interests me.

1:28 I was watching several documentaries the other night and I thought, you know, this happens a lot more than we think.

1:35 Basically, this is killing your parents or even another near relative.

1:42 It can be killing a sister, a brother, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin or even in laws.

1:52 We've talked about cases like this before.

1:56 But again, there are so many of them to cover and so many that were big news like the Menendez brothers and, but they happen a lot, even in our small county, we've seen them quite a bit.

2:12 I had a case not many years ago where a kid who was a teenager killed his mother and he was accusing her of using his drugs and he stabbed her multiple times while the dad slept in the next room.

2:29 Dad was reportedly taking sleeping pills because he had trouble sleeping because he typically worked nights.

2:36 And so he was out of it and reportedly did not hear anything.

2:42 The teenager then went upstairs and slit his wrists and killed himself.

2:48 It was a very bloody crime scene.

2:51 I do remember it was one of my, not really one of my first homicides, but it was one of my bloodiest top asides.

2:59 I have to say those always interest me.

3:02 And again, you know, the dad was sleeping in the next room, and he had absolutely no knowledge of what was going on, you know, this is the rarest type of murder and it's about 2% of all the homicide cases.

3:16 I mean, it's very, very rare, although it seems like we see a lot of it.

3:21 You can only imagine if it's only 2% of the homicides.

3:24 How many homicides we do have in the US?

3:28 In 2017, 15,000, 129 people were murdered in the United States.

3:36 Of those 100 and 69 were mothers and 100 and 86 were fathers who were killed by their own Children.

3:45 These crimes are mostly committed by adult middle class white males who really don't have a criminal history.

3:55 They've not been in trouble before and even though you don't want to really consider them a suspect because they seem, you know, quote unquote normal, it seems like that the road always kind of leads to them because all the other ideas of who may have done it have been extinguished.

4:14 Parricides committed by females are rare.

4:19 I know in a lot of cases that we've heard of like the Gypsy rose case, a female who wants a parent to die may actually hire somebody to do it for them and not actually do it themselves.

4:31 Now, the offenders are usually younger than 30 but over 18 and a lot of them have some history of mental illness usually, but not always.

4:43 I mean, we've seen cases where there is no history of mental illness and then cases where there's a long history, I know we've had some cases in the area where someone had killed both parents and there was a long history of mental illness.

5:01 What I hate the most about that is in many of those cases, the parents over the years have done everything they can to make sure that this child is taken care of and receives the treatment and the therapy and the medication that they need.

5:18 The parents many times will continue to let them live under their roof just to make sure that they are going to work and getting counseling and doing all the things that they're supposed to do.

5:30 And it's always disheartening when you find out that they in turn end up killing the parents, even though the parents have literally spent their entire lives trying to help them.

5:41 That's always super sad to me, adolescent parent killers.

5:45 On the other hand, usually do not have a history of mental illness many times this is done because of sexual abuse or emotional abuse or some sort of physical abuse.

5:59 These are the adolescents who usually kill their parent’s motivation by adolescents.

6:06 Again, is usually typically due to long term abuse of some sort.

6:12 There are three types of parasite offenders and those are the ones who were severely abused, the ones who are mentally ill and then the ones who are just dangerously antisocial and those are going to be the people that they consistently really show no regard for right and wrong and really kind of ignored the feelings of others.

6:38 They tend to purposely make people angry or upset and manipulate or treat them harshly or cruelly and they lack remorse.

6:47 They usually do not whatsoever regret their behaviors.

6:53 A lot of times people with antisocial personality disorder will violate the law and become criminals.

7:00 They can lie, behave violently, have problems with drug and alcohol and can't really keep responsibilities like family work school.

7:12 All of those things.

7:14 That is also one of the types of parasite offenders.

7:19 We're going to talk about a few cases, and this will probably be more than one episode because again, there are so many and I just find them super interesting, but one is a pretty recent case and this was in December of 2023 and this happened in Fresno County, California.

7:39 A 14-year-old boy was arrested for killing his parents and severely injuring his 11-year-old sister.

7:47 Now the suspect called police and told them that someone had broken into their house and attacked his family whenever he told the police that he told them that the suspect fled in a truck.

8:02 Basically he came home, found that the house had been broken into and saw the person leave in a truck later though detectives really noticed a lot of inconsistencies in his story.

8:17 Now the parents were Liu Yang and C Vang.

8:21 They were both 37 and they were killed.

8:25 And the 11-year-old sister was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery.

8:31 Now, there was another seven-year-old brother who was not injured, he was home at the time, but he was not injured and was spared for whatever reason.

8:42 The suspect was arrested and booked into juvenile hall and faces two murder charges and an attempted murder charge.

8:52 They did not release the name of the suspect because of his age, but this is all still being investigated.

9:02 Again, this is a fairly new case from December of 2023 in Fresno County, California.

9:10 There was another case in which another young girl, Sarah Marie Johnson, she was 16 living in Bellevue, Idaho.

9:21 Sarah loved her dad.

9:23 Alan Allen was 46 but she fought a lot with her mom, Diane who was 52.

9:31So Diane was a little bit older than Alan.

9:34But I find this in many cases where, you know, you get along with one parent a little bit better than the other.

9:40 I've even had friends who have told me that, you know, their mom treated them horribly, but you know, they were the apple of their dad's eye.

9:48 This happens and of course it can cause a lot of problems in the marriage.

9:53 We know that to be true as well.

9:56 But Sarah started dating a boy named Bruno Santos.

10:00 Bruno was 19 and of course it, this caused a rift between her and her parents because Bruno had a history of drug use and violence naturally, you know, what parent would want their young daughter to date a guy that had this kind of a history.

10:20 I mean, I know that when my daughter was younger, you know, several times she got mixed up with some boys that I thought probably weren't the best for her.

10:29 You know, I told her not to see them and I think that in many cases that kind of makes them want to see them more.

10:35 And we all know that to kind of be true too.

10:37 But because of Bruno's history, you know, I'm sure they felt that, you know, their daughter would be at risk.

10:43 Who knows if he's selling drugs, if he's going to try to do it when she's with him and get her into trouble.

10:50 There's all kinds of things that can happen related to that when Sarah's parents became aware that she was dating Bruno and became aware of his history.

11:01 They told her that she was going to need to break it off with him.

11:05 One night, Sarah spent the night at Bruno’s, and this did not go over.

11:11 Well, so when Alan found out he went over to Bruno's house and he demanded that he stay away from Sarah and he took Sarah home and grounded her, which we've all been grounded.

11:22 We know what that feels like.

11:24 I feel like I was grounded half of my childhood.

11:26 Honestly.

11:28 And it wasn't anything really traumatizing.

11:31 It was just, it was hard not to get to go out with your friends.

11:34 You know, if you were a teenager for the most part, I mean, I felt like my punishment was probably fair, but I was a good kid.

11:42 I didn't get into much trouble anyway, the next morning at about 6 a.m. Sarah opened her dad's gun case and pulled out a rifle.

11:53 Now she went into her parents' room while her mom was sleeping, and dad was in the shower.

11:59 So dad didn't really know what was going on.

12:02 She aimed the rifle at her mom's head and pulled the trigger.

12:07 Now, Alan rushed out of the bathroom because he heard the noise and he begged Sarah not to fire at him, but she did, and she shot her dad in the chest with the rifle.

12:21 Now, Sarah ran to a neighbor's house, and they called 911.

12:27 Police found a bloody pink bathrobe and a latex glove with gunshot residue in a bin outside of a house that contained Allen Diane and Sarah's DNA, which pretty much implicated her in the crime.

12:43 Now, she was found guilty of murder and jailed for two life sentences.

12:49 It's really sad, you know, that this happened over a boy, and you can bet, you know, had life gone on and things had happened, she probably wouldn't have ended up marrying him anyway.

13:01 I mean, she was only 16 at the time, but he could have gotten her into a lot of trouble.

13:07 You know, as parents, we just have to protect our kids and I'm sure that's all they were trying to do.

13:13 It seems that they had a pretty normal, you know, relationship outside of fighting with their mom every once in a while.

13:21 But who didn't, I mean, I think as kids, especially teenagers, you can't get along all the time with your parents.

13:28 I mean, anyway, that was another case.

13:31 And of course all these kids, you know, ended up getting life in prison.

13:36 The Gilbert family, I want to talk a little bit about them.

13:40 This was a family that was renowned for their self-made financial success in New York City.

13:48 Thomas Gilbert was 70 years old, and he ran a very successful hedge fund and he lived with his daughter and wife Shelley while his son, Thomas Junior lived in his own apartment.

14:02 Now, Thomas Junior, there's one in every family, right?

14:06 He struggled to hold down a job and he was a surfer, but that was really just about all he wanted to do.

14:13 It seems now he suffered from anxiety, paranoia and obsessive-compulsive disorder and he took some meds, but he really needed psychiatric help.

14:25 He needed ongoing counseling.

14:27 His parents tried to get him to receive ongoing counseling, but he would not.

14:32 He did not feel he needed that.

14:33 He just wanted to take the medications and keep going as he was, but he bought a gun on Facebook Marketplace.

14:43 And when he went to visit his parents, he asked his mom to leave him alone with his dad so they could talk business, which wouldn't be abnormal.

14:54 Right?

14:54 I mean, as far as we know, at this point, everything seemed pretty normal within the family, but she heard gunfire and actually found her husband in the room with his hand covering his chest.

15:10 Now, Thomas Junior tried to make it look like a suicide, tried to kind of stage it.

15:16 He didn't have a whole lot of time.

15:17 Right?

15:17 Because mom was in the house, but he was found guilty of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

15:28 Really scary that he could just go on Facebook and purchase a weapon again.

15:35 I mean, it could have been stolen, who knows?

15:38 But he was able to get it, nonetheless.

15:40 And I know we talked about something similar a couple of weeks ago where two young kids killed their sister over an argument about mom spending more money on her at Christmas than them.

15:53 The discussion was, you know, how did these boys who were like, 14 have guns and carry them with them all the time?

16:01 It's really sad but I don't think it's that hard for them to get them these days.

16:05 I think that whoever's selling them doesn't care about anything but the money and half the time they're probably stolen.

16:12 Now, another story that I found was on Andrew Walmsley.

16:19 Rick and Suzanne Walmsley were found, and this was close to me in Mansfield, Texas.

16:26 Back on December 11th of 2003, their bodies had been stabbed and were bullet ridden.

16:37 A clump of hair in Rick's fist which matched 19-year-old Susanna Toledo's hair was found at the crime scene.

16:50 Now, this is something where we always talk about trace evidence and those types of things, it is common if you're trying to defend yourself for you to scratch the person or to try to pull their hair.

17:06 And so, that's why many times we'll find skin cells under the fingernails and sometimes like I said, hair wrapped around their fingers, or even a clump of it.

17:17 Like, as in this case in their hand, the couple's 19-year-old son was arrested as the mastermind of the murders.

17:26 He conspired to kill his parents with his girlfriend, Chelsea Richardson and her roommate, Susanna and then another teenager, the son's girlfriend's friend's hair was what was found in the dad's fist whenever he was found deceased.

17:46 Now at Iha in Arlington, Texas again, literally right down the road from me in August of 2003, the four hatched a plan to murder the Walmsley so that the son could actually inherit the family's 1.65 million fortune.

18:09 Originally, they had also planned to kill the sister Sarah, but she was spared only because at the time she lived with her boyfriend.

18:20 She wasn't home at the time of the murders.

18:23 But Andrew claimed that he didn't kill them for money, but because they were emotionally and physically abusive, now he was sentenced to life in prison in 2006.

18:36 And he is currently at the John B Connelly unit in Kennedy, Texas and will be eligible for parole in about 20 years.

18:45 In 2044 now Chelsea Richardson, the girlfriend became the first female sentenced to death in Tarrant County, which is in Fort Worth Texas.

18:58 And in 2012, her sentence was commuted to life in prison, but she was the first female sentenced to death originally.

19:07 But in 2012, that was commuted.

19:10 Susanna Toledano testified against Andrew and Chelsea in exchange for a plea agreement and she did get life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years, which would be 10 years from now.

19:26 She'll be eligible for parole in 2034.

19:31 And the other roommate, Hilario Cardenas was the IHOP manager who secured the gun.

19:40 Hilario pled guilty of conspiracy and got 50 years behind bars.

19:46 She is now eligible for parole but has been denied parole twice, once in 2016 and once in 2017.

19:56 Now, of course, a lot of these murders are committed out of anger, you know, whether it be for abuse, or you don't like my boyfriend or different things like that.

20:08 I had a lot of situations in high school where my parents did not like my boyfriend and I never, ever, ever would have even considered killing them because of it.

20:20 Just can't imagine.

20:22 There's another case on Alan Ruby and this happened in Duncan Oklahoma.

20:28 But on Monday, October 13th of 2014, a housekeeper walked into her client's home.

20:36 This is John and Tinker Ruby and found the couple and their 17-year-old daughter, Catherine murdered.

20:44 Now, they were killed on October 9th of 2014, but they weren't found until the 13th.

20:51 They laid there for about four days before their bodies were discovered.

20:56 Now, in many cases like this, I know we've talked about before the bodies would be found because neighbors may have smelled a foul odor, or they weren't getting their mail, or they forgot to put their trash out or they didn't go to work or whatnot.

21:12 But in this case, it was the housekeeper, going to perform her weekly duties and finding them.

21:20 It is believed they were killed on the ninth.

21:24 Now, the couple's son, 19-year-old Allen was 75 miles away at the University of Oklahoma when he received the call that his parents' housekeeper had actually found them and his sister, Catherine deceased in the home.

21:40 Now, what Alan failed to tell the police was about his shopping addiction and that he had recently been arrested on fraudulent check and credit card charges.

21:53 Allen liked to spend a lot of money and that's ok.

21:57 I like to spend a lot of money too, but I would not kill anyone for their money just so that I could go shopping.

22:05 But he did not really disclose this to detectives.

22:07 And we all know the reason why, I mean, it's obviously going to draw attention to himself, as if they weren't already going to consider him a suspect because he was only family member left alive.

22:20 But you know, he knowingly left out that little piece of information and of course, because police interview extended family members and friends as well.

22:32 Officers were told about the couple's decision to cut their son off financially because he couldn't control his spending.

22:41Allen had been in jail again for stealing his grandmother's credit card and charging more than $5000 while he was on an extended vacation in Europe.

22:52 The net worth of his grandparents was significant because they were third generation owners of the Duncan Press, which was a large paper in the area.

23:03 Allen knew he was caught eventually, and he confessed to the murders.

23:09 Now, the reason that he said he did this is because he had asked for one last loan of $3000 to pay off a loan shark who was threatening him.

23:20 And now when his parents refused to give him the money that made him angry enough to actually kill.

23:28 Now, he pled not guilty originally, but he changed his plea in March of 2016, and he did receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.

23:39 Now, he is at the Dick Connor Correctional Facility in Hominy, Oklahoma.

23:45 I don't know where that is.

23:46 Actually, I've not heard of Hominy, but Ruby bragged about his shoe collection and all the points on his credit card.

23:54 And so he obviously did have a really bad spending habit, but he had also previously assaulted his own mother two years prior after a fight about money, what he did is he waited down the block for his mom to get home.

24:13 He was sitting in his jeep down the street and when his mom pulled up, he was in his jeep that his parents had given him for graduation.

24:21 When his mom got home, he came in the back door and shot her twice.

24:26 Now his sister was outside washing her car and so she came inside when she heard the noise, and he shot her in the head and then he sat there and waited for his dad to get home.

24:38 When the dad John got home, he shot him two times as well.

24:44 Now he left the house and took the cameras or the surveillance from the home along with the gun and tossed him into a nearby lake and then he's, you know, drove back to the University of Oklahoma.

24:58 There had been reports that a nine-millimeter handgun had been stolen out of John's truck on the morning of October 9th toll booth records.

25:08 And, and again, you know, the police are smart y'all.

25:11 They're going to figure out toll booth, cell phone, pings, cell phone, text messages.

25:17 Even if they're deleted, they can still be found.

25:20 Toll booth records proved he went from Norman to Duncan and back the same day that the gun was stolen.

25:28 And again, he's only 75 miles away.

25:30 It wouldn't be hard for him to go back and forth.

25:34 He left his phone at the college when he committed the crime.

25:39 And then just right before on the day of, he tweeted pics of his dorm room to make everyone think he was home.

25:48 And again, that's why he left his phone there.

25:50 He had a little bit of thought in the matter, but not enough.

25:53 I mean, he still wasn't smart.

25:54 Right?

25:55 But his phone was in Norman at the college when he drove home to commit the crimes.

26:03 Now, Ruby was arrested because he was found in Dallas where he came to the Texas Ou game and that violated his probation.

26:14 He was going to go to the game and he ended up not attending and staying at the Ritz Carlton in Dallas, but that was a violation of his probation keep is on probation for stealing the money from his grandmother.

26:27 That's when he was arrested, but he did stage the scene to make it look like a robbery gone bad.

26:35 I think it's interesting too that they told him when he was sentenced that he could not have any contact with his family or the media because they did not want him to profit from a book or a movie deal because of this story.

26:51 And I do remember when this happened seems like forever ago, but it was only 10 years ago.

26:57 I do remember this story, but you know, he'd always been given, I guess everything, and I think a lot of us as parents feel guilty because we want to give our kids everything.

27:07 But we do have to sometimes tell them no, I struggled with that.

27:12 I was a major pushover when I raised my kids, I got on to them and then would quickly tell them they weren't grounded anymore.

27:19 Or I mean, it's hard, it's so hard cause you hate to see your kids unhappy, but you can't be their friend all the time.

27:26 And I was a young mom.

27:28 That was my mistake.

27:29 But that is something that happens a lot.

27:32 We want to give our kids everything and then we don't realize when they get older, they weren't told no.

27:37 And so when you do tell them no, they kind of fly off the handle.

27:40 Hopefully they don't kill you.

27:42 But I mean, it's always a possibility.

27:45 Anyway, next week we're going to talk a little bit about Lyle and Eric Menendez.

27:51 And that is another story in itself where they actually killed their parents.

27:56 And so, like I said, there's a lot of cases of this happening and even in our small area, just in the past year, we've had at least two or three.

28:05 And of course, a lot of them don't make the news, but Lyle and Eric Menendez's story did because, you know, their parents were worth a lot of money and lived in Beverly Hills.

28:15 And so this was one of the most famous criminal cases of the late 20th century.

28:21 So we'll definitely talk about that next week.

28:25 And again, I hope that everyone has an amazing upcoming week.

28:31 I hope that our days at the medical examiner are slow this week and I look forward to talking to you next week.

28:41 Remember to go on my website www.PushingUpLilies.com where you can request specific stories and also request to be a guest host.

28:50 I'd love to have you on if you have any stories that you want to tell or just something regarding true crime that you'd like to talk about.

28:57 Be sure and pull it up.

28:58 Shoot me a quick email and then we will make that happen remotely from wherever you are.

29:03 Again, have a great week and I look forward to talking to you soon.

29:08 Thank you so much for joining me today on Pushing Up Lilies.

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29:22 Thanks again for spending your time with me and be sure to visit me at PushingUpLilies.com for merchandise and past episodes.