Steven Sueppel was a 42-year-old former bank vice president on bail for embezzlement charges to the tune of $560,000 from his own bank in Iowa City, Iowa. But family annihilations are in a different class, says Jack Levin, a professor of sociology at Northeastern University and lead author of the soon-to-be-released 10-year study. Less extreme forms of domestic violence and child abuse are more common. As in all types of mass murder, there are different motivations and different methods of murder. A millionaire businessman, Chris Foster was married with a 15-year-old daughter. Gunshot, … They are well planned and selective. One of these is not the nickname one would hope to have for Daddy Dearest. In a large percentage of cases, the killer tried to commit suicide after the act. The psychiatrist signed commitment papers but did not insist that Bruce be taken for psychiatric observation. In many cases, it appears the father feels he no longer wants to live or that he just cannot go on and decides to take his family with him. For the family annihilators and mass murderers who are motivated by psychotic delusions, we actually do have a chance to stop the carnage if can insist on proactive psychiatric care. It’s a question philosophers and criminologists have grappled with for centuries. They are not carried out in the heat of the moment or in a fit of rage. He's not sparing them the shame of bankruptcy, he is sparing himself the shame of having to face them every day, as a failure. Notably, these are different from other identified categories of killers (serial killers, spree killers, mass murderers), leaving familicide in a unique category of its own. Once there he shot both his parents and his younger brother with a .22 caliber rifle. A young girl struggling to find her identity living in Britain while maintaining her Pakistani cultural roots and heritage, her father disapproved of her behavior. We have all faced problems and difficulties in our lives but very few of us resort to such drastic and terrifying actions. After unsuccessfully trying to take his own life he was put on trial where it was revealed he had just discovered his wife was having an affair. Most of the modern research about men who murder their entire families concludes that men, especially fathers, are finding it harder to cope with life on an every day basis. In Leveillee’s 2009 study, they found that 68% of those who killed their family had a history of depressive symptoms and 38% showed borderline traits of a personality disorder. They are never spontaneous. Chillingly in the UK, statistics suggest that a child is more likely to be killed by a parent than by a stranger. These individuals often believe their family and especially their children are under some form of threat or they need protecting. A family annihilator can be anyone in the family who murders most, if not all, members of their immediate family. List had fled but despite extensive searches, he could not be found. Lists about seemingly innocent people who no one considered a danger or threat—until they got caught. Fathers with a paranoid streak who end up murdering their entire families usually do because they believe that they’re saving their family from some unseen threat. The anatomy of family murder - the patterns and warning signs. He died in prison aged 82 in 2008. In 1985, another narcissistic family annihilator struck in Columbus, Georgia. Yardley, E. , Wilson, D. and Lynes, A. 53-year old Brian Philcox is another example of a self-righteous killer. Directed by Adam Kane. The case of Bruce Blackman a 22-year-old man in British Columbia is a tragic example of how mental illness can be involved in cases of familicide. John List was a father of three in 1971 in New Jersey who shot and killed his wife, all three children, and his mother before fleeing and building himself a new life. Bruce Blackman was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a psychiatric unit for treatment. Committing murder against all family members is, therefore, a way of saving them from the hardship and shame of financial troubles and bankruptcy and they will almost always commit suicide afterward. Ann Johnson Curry was over eight months pregnant when she and her two children were brutally murdered. How Chris Watts’ Case Breaks the Family Annihilator Pattern. Blackman drove to his parents’ house on 18 January 1983. Related: Joanna Dennehy: The Psychology of A Female Serial Killer. On Easter morning 2011 he set fire to his house, killing him and five of his children. It’s time to go to CrimeCon. A sign in a door of Family Physical Therapy in the small complex of 7 Park Ave. in Colchester owned by Anthony Todt, who may be connected to the 4 … They also tend to commit such acts in August because their children are not in school, Garrett said. Familicide, the family annihilator, murder-suicides and family murders are all terms which have been used to describe cases where a family member has killed other family members. Recent economic problems may produce increases in child abuse and neglect and domestic violence. A Taxonomy of Male British Family Annihilators, 1980–2012, Family Annihilation: The Crimes and Psychology of Familicide, Deadly Poisons, An Introductory Text for Forensic Investigators. Convicted of murder, he was sentenced to five life sentences. Required fields are marked *. The bodies of Kirstie Foster and Jill Foster were found with gunshot wounds, confirming they had been killed before the fire was set. Julian Bailes from the Sports Legacy Institute conducted tests on Benoit’s brain post-mortem and claims that the former wrestler’s brain resembled that of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. Hi Janice, thanks very much for your comments, really interesting. Retrieved from https://www.crimetraveller.org/2015/09/familicide-family-annihilator/. Paranoia is something that's hard to do away with once it begins manifesting itself, but if you notice a parent (or friend) who's obviously dealing with psychotic symptoms don't be afraid to reach out and get help. In what was originally thought to be a devastating house fire, it was soon revealed to be a much deeper horror. In the US it is known as "family annihilation". In the majority of familicide cases, it is the father who commits the act. He then jumped off the 50ft high balcony himself with his 2-year-old daughter Mia Logan in his arms. He may commit suicide after killing the others, or may force the police to kill him.” – Forensic Psychiatrist P.E Dietz (1986), As highlighted by Professor Jack Leven, Professor of Sociology and Criminology Emeritus at Northeastern University in Boston, the profile of a man who kills his family “is a middle-aged man, a good provider who would appear to neighbors to be a dedicated husband and a devoted father.”. Familicides were used as an enhanced punishment in antiquity. He has categorized such family killers into two groups; the “livid coercive” killer who is motivated by anger and rage. Familicides were used as an enhanced punishment in antiquity. These fiendish crimes are carried out by a diverse group of people who range from evil to sick. Benoit’s family believes that his history of concussions from the multiple chair shots he took to the head in the ring played a big part in the horrific crime. Possibly the most chilling aspect of this case was the CCTV at the family’s home which captured Chris Foster walking through the grounds of his house with a .22 rifle, shooting the family’s horses and dogs and pouring 200 gallons of petrol around the outbuildings and through the house. I always thought it was some form of suicide mission and he didn't want the family to deal with the aftermath so he would kill them too. As absolutely gutting as the reality is, Click here to sign in with or ... "The family annihilator should be seen as a specific category of murderer, for a crime which appears to be increasing," concluded Wilson. The dead, all members of the same extended family, ranged in age from 9 to 42. In June 2008 in Cheshire, England,  he picked up his children on Father’s day for a day out and after driving them to a secluded spot in Snowdonia, South Wales, he drugged them and pumped exhaust fumes into the car, killing 7-year-old Amy Philcox and 3-year-old Owen Philcox and himself. The economy always is a distal factor that is translated into family relations through poverty or employment or self-image or stressors. Less than a month after Foster’s crime, another family annihilator struck in Southampton: he telephoned his estranged partner to tell her that their children had “gone to sleep forever.” Having smothered them, he hanged himself. How the courts decide, We might not be able to understand free will with science. “These are executions. aka pretext and plausible deniability used to cover up corporate and government covert action(s). Great article, thank you. Unfortunately, this means this kind of crime and the death of entire families will continue to happen and it is a phenomenon which has proved difficult to predict and almost impossible to stop. Police officers discovered the bodies of his family inside the family home on 7 December 1971 along with a note he had written to his pastor, expressing his concern that there was ‘too much evil’ in the world and he had taken the lives of his family to ‘save their souls’. The only survivors of the arson were his wife and his 13-year-old daughter who were away from the home. They can be very successful people in their lives and not the kind of person who it is perceived would kill anyone never mind their entire family. These are categories that can overlap and are still being developed and refined for categorizing cases of familicide. They show control issues and may have abusive tendencies achieving their self-worth by exerting authority within the home. He follows the more traditional view of the reasons behind male father figures killing their families being rage, revenge, and altruism. Professor David Wilson’s research which looked at cases over a span of 30 years, grouped their case studies into four categories looking at the motives behind the killings. Like cutting out unnecessary spending. This is a profile which appears to be quite different from more familiar profiles of mass murderers, serial killers and, spree killers. John Hogan was a 32-year-old man from Bristol with a wife and two children. However, there have been cases of females who have committed very violent acts against her children. Mass murders are tragic crimes to begin with, but when a person wipes out their entire family it can be utterly devastating. These cases are horrifying acts which can wipe out an entire family, leaving relatives, friends, and colleagues stunned and confused. Criminologists have been conducting increasing research into the phenomenon of familicide and in the process have produced many terms and definitions to describe such acts and distinguish them from each other. When that failed it is thought he beat the children to death in the same manner he had his wife. Family annihilators don't typically think through the end result -- potentially being arrested -- instead focusing on "the immediate need and gain of the moment," Garrett said. In ancient China, the "nine familial exterminations" was the killing of an entire extended family or clan, usually for treason.Machiavelli advocated the extermination of a previous ruler's family to prevent uprisings in The Prince. They were not known to the police or the criminal justice system; they often had good jobs, families, and friends around them. The author’s closing statement: “Warning signs, if any, are difficult to spot and the modern-day nature of families and individuals to keep their lives private and their troubles to themselves only adds to the shock factor which such an incident does take place. British criminologists have made the assessment after studying newspaper records of "family annihilator" events over the period from 1980 to 2012. There’s nothing quite as stressful as being the head of the family and taking on the financial burden of a significant other, multiple children, a mortgage, car payments, and consumer or educational debt. This traditional idea of the man providing for and looking after his family may be one factor when he no longer feels he is meeting this role adequately, often if finances or employment breaks down. Furthermore, that social loss, economic reasons, mental illness and intimate partner loss were the most common likely causes of murder-suicide within a family. There can be a revenge aspect where he leaves the mother alive to suffer after he takes the lives of her children, however, this is by far not the main reason, as perceived by some, for this type of murder. “The family annihilator should be seen as a specific category of murderer, for a crime which appears to be increasing,” concluded Wilson. The Fayetteville, Georgia, police found anabolic steroids on the scene, and police believe that the drug may have had an affect on his behavior. A 29-year-old married mother of four from Norfolk in Nebraska, she fatally shot and stabbed her four daughters aged 2 – 10 years old in June 1980. They found that in 68% of cases the perpetrator committed suicide after they had murdered their family. While one man tries to come to terms with the fact he murdered his own son and tried to murder his daughter in the most horrific of ways, Natasha Visser, the children’s mother and her family have been left angered by a not guilty verdict and the decision to allow him to return to the UK as a free man with no convictions. Family annihilators are men who decide if they aren't happy, the rest of the family can't be happy... ever again. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used. Despite sharing many similarities with mass murderers and serial killers, family annihilators are different than any other brand of murderer that exist. They found a total of 71 cases where 59 of the perpetrators were male and over half were between the ages of 30-40 years old when they committed the crime. A family … He’s convicted of first-degree murder, unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and tampering with a deceased dead body. Such gender expectations have been around within criminology and crime theory for a long time with many of the theories developed being predominantly focused on male criminal behavior. Researchers also identified four common areas which may be the causes of such family murders; a breakdown in the family relationship and issues surrounding access to children, money worries and financial hardship, cultural honor killings and mental illness. What makes one individual decide to murder their family before themselves is a question still being asked. In a television interview in 2002, John List claimed he did not take his own life as he wanted to be reunited with his family in heaven. He is also forced to face his father for the first time in years as his repressed memories of one of his victims reemerge. The case of Chris Foster in Shropshire in 2008 is a tragic and devastating example of this category of family annihilator. On Aug. 13, 2018, Watts murdered his pregnant wife & two daughters. Of the 71 family "annihilators" identified for the study, 59 of them were male and 55 percent of them were in their thirties when they committed the crime. I think what is difficult as unlike many other crimes of this severity, most of the time here, the person responsible is no longer alive to answer any questions or give any insights as to why, and that makes research and understanding a harder task. Categorizing the Killers: Four Types of Family Annihilator Self-righteous: The killer seeks to locate blame for his crimes upon the mother who he holds responsible for the breakdown of the family. These are people who believe they have been let down by those around them, most often their partner and their children. Benoit’s family believes that his history of concussions from the multiple chair shots he took to the head in the ring played a big part in the horrific crime. Episode 86; Another Narcissistic Family Annihilator: Michael Curry . Paranoia can manifest itself in a number of ways and the effects of untreated, intense paranoid delusions are often violent outbursts as seen in the case of family annihilator Chris Benoit, who believed that he was being followed at all times of the day. They are very methodical and it is often planned out for a long time.” – Professor Jack Leven. Some cases of honor killings can fall into this category where a father may be unhappy with his children’s choices and does not feel they are being true to their cultural and traditional religious customs. Usually has no former criminal history or history of mental health; Has a high profile or high paying job; Geological isolation is a key factor in most family annihilator stories. This individual might suffer of depression, psychological problems and self-destructiveness. It is more expected in society and within the criminal justice system for a male to commit violent crime than a female. This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it is very important. Confessing openly to the murders she was convicted of first-degree murder at her first trial, however, this was later changed to not guilty by reason of insanity in a second trial and she was committed to a psychiatric unit indefinitely where she still remains today. But there are warning signs your dad is a family annihilator, so read on, take notes, and keep an eye on Father. The Question of Why: Did Ted Bundy have Dissociative Identity Disorder? Copyright © 2016 - 2020 Crime Traveller, a website owned and operated by Alythium | All Rights Reserved. Description. He called his elder sisters, who no longer lived in the family home, and fatally shot them and his brother-in-law when they arrived. Charged with murder she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. While Mr. Anderson was known to have substance misuse issues there were no signs he was a risk to himself or the children and both families have been left shocked and devastated at his actions. One niece … Reckless Speculation about Jeffrey MacDonald, O. J. 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A 46-year-old accountant, John List struggled to maintain his employment and pay his mortgage and had been stealing money from his elderly mother. Criminologists find four distinct types of "family annihilator" from an analysis of newspaper crime reports from 1980 to 2012. After the tragedy, it was revealed the couple were having marital troubles and had argued, signaling an end to the marriage, just before John Hogan took the actions he did. The ferocity of the fire was intense and when fire crews did make it to the house it took 12 crews and several days to contain the fire and ensure the area was safe. Family background and relationships were often quite dysfunctional; parents were often divorced or separated, and parental discipline has been meted out in ways that are both harsh and inconsistent. It’s supposed to be a safe haven, an enclave where we can feel secure.” – Professor Jack Leven. What Should We Do With Teenage Psychopaths? As they blame the mother, they can often make contact just before they commit the murders to tell her what they are about to do, knowing there is nothing she can do to prevent it. Familicide and The Family Annihilator. Unfortunately that can’t be applied to every case, so if you’re trying to determine whether or not someone is a future family killer you have to tread lightly and keep a close eye on all the signs. Mothers are more likely to take the lives of their children, often believing they are saving them from a hardship and may then take their own lives, but they are unlikely to kill their husbands. Are there family annihilator warning signs? He is usually between 30 and 40 years old. He was a broken man in dealing with the actions he took on that day. Chillingly after he killed his daughter he sent a text message to her mother, Joanne Hall with the words  “Now you have the rest of your life to deal with the consequences”. 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