Oftentimes, a nanny or a regular babysitter can take on the role of the “other mother” in a child’s life. In the following horrific cases, though, these professionals who had been entrusted with the care of young innocents instead became the perpetrators of heinous abuse and even death.
1. GYULCHEKHRA BOBOKULOVA: DECAPITATED FOUR-YEAR-OLD, CARRIED HER HEAD IN THE STREET
MOSCOW, RUSSIA — In March 2016, Gyulchekhra Bobokulova, a 38-year-old nanny from Uzbekistan and herself the mother of three, strangled and beheaded Nastya Meshcheryakova, the four-year-old girl in her care.
Bobokulova then attempted to burn down her employers’ home, and paraded through nearby streets waving the toddler’s head around. Reportedly, she also yelled:
“I hate democracy. I am a terrorist. I want you dead. You have become so hardened, you have eliminated so many of us. Look, I am a suicide bomber, I will die, doomsday will come in a second.”
Upon being apprehended by police, the Muslim Bobokulova claimed Allah told her to do it.
In addition, Bobokulova revealed to investigators that she had long been haunted by “voices.” She hid her ongoing battles with schizophrenia from her employers, which apparently took a turn for the unimaginably worse after her husband left her shortly before the murder.
Since her arrest, Moscow authorities have held Bobokulova in a psychiatric hospital. She awaits trial for the murder of a minor, but it’s believed she will be confined to a mental-health facility rather than prison due to her illness. Last summer, Bobokulova reportedly stated that she was worried that being locked up would make her “fat and unattractive.” [Daily Mail]
2. MICHAEL PLUMADORE: BLUDGEONED AND DISMEMBERED NINE-YEAR-OLD GIRL; KEPT PARTS IN FREEZER
FORT WAYNE, IN — In December 2011, Tarah Souders moved into a rundown trailer park with her three daughters, nine-year-old Aliahna Maroney-Lemmon and a pair of six-year-old twins.
They relocated to care for Souders’ ailing father, who resided in the complex, which also happened to house numerous ex-convicts and known child-sex offenders.
When Souders fell ill, she put her three daughters in the care of her 37-year-old trailer park neighbor and career criminal Michael Plumadore. He was a family friend who cared for her kids’ grandfather, James Lemmon, who was reportedly also a convicted child molester.
Three days before Christmas, Plumadore beat nine-year-old Aliahna’s head in with a brick, after which he carved the child’s body into pieces using a hacksaw.
Authorities later discovered the child’s head, hands, and feet inside Plumadore’s refrigerator, and the killer admitted: “I put parts in my freezer, and took the rest down to the Marathon station and put them in a dumpster.” Thankfully, the two six year olds were recovered unhurt.
Plumadore pleaded guilty, receiving life in prison without the possibility of parole, in exchange for not having to face the death penalty. [CBS News]
3. ANN FRANKLIN: CONNED PARENTS, CRUSHED INFANT’S SKULL IN RAGERYE, NY — In July 1992, upscale Westchester county professionals David Dunne and Peggy Leahy met 25-year-old nanny Ann Franklin through an ad the couple placed in The Irish Echo. The local ethnic newspaper served as a popular way for Irish immigrants to come by child-care jobs in America.
Dunne and Leahy checked with Franklin’s reference number, who gushed about Ann’s way with children, and even attempted to look into their potential employee’s criminal background. There, though, the couple ran up against a brick wall — such information was confidential.
Franklin so charmed the parents, though, that they hired her to care for their infant son, Kieran Dunne.
On March 3, 1993, after Kieran began to regularly sport bruises that the nanny could not explain, Ann Franklin hurled the baby across a room so severely that the impact crushed his skull and killed him.
Upon being arrested, numerous facts came to light. Franklin had stolen her younger sister’s identity and gotten into America with a false name and birthdate. She had also successfully hidden her previous arrest records for theft. Franklin’s reference turned out to be bogus, too.
Ann Franklin got a sentence of 25 years to life. She served 16, and was paroled in 2010.
One positive outcome, however, was the creation of “Kieran’s Law,” a statute instituted in 1998 by New York wherein parents and guardians can conduct full legal background checks on potential child-care workers. Many other states have adopted similar measures. [New York Daily News]
4. LOUISE WOODWARD: GOT LIFE FOR SHAKEN-BABY DEATH, SERVED 279 DAYS
NEWTON, MA — In one of the most infamous “killer nanny” cases ever, 19-year-old British au pair Louise Woodward was convicted for the 1997 death of Matthew Eappen, the eight-month-old baby in her care.
Matthew died from a fractured skull and subdural hematoma, five days after he fell into a coma following Woodward saying she “popped the baby on the bed.” Later, it was commonly thought that Louise lost her temper with Matthew and he fell victim to “shaken-baby syndrome.”
After an intensely covered trial, on October 20, 1997, a jury found Woodward guilty of second-degree murder, and Judge Hiller B. Zobel sentenced her to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years.
Woodward’s legal team filed an appeal that got her conviction reduced to involuntary manslaughter. Upon re-sentencing Woodward, Judge Zobel stated, “I am morally certain that allowing this defendant on this evidence to remain convicted of second-degree murder would be a miscarriage of justice.”
The nanny’s sentence got knocked down to time served and, 279 days after her arrest, Louise Woodward walked free. She returned to England, where she presently has a family of her own.
5. LIDIA QUILLIGANA: BURNED THREE-YEAR-OLD; ABUSED ONE-YEAR-OLD TWINS
DANBURY, CT — Lidia Quilligana, 32, is presently awaiting trial on one felony count of first-degree assault and 23 felony counts of risk of injury to a child.
The charges stem from Quilligana’s alleged abuse in March 2015 of a three-year-old and two one-year-old twins for whom she was hired to care. If convicted, Quilligana faces up to ten years for each count.
Quilligana was caught on a nanny cam repeatedly beating each of the children and burning the hands and leg of the three-year-old on a hot stove. She is also suspected of pulling hair out of the children’s heads. Quilligana gave birth to her own third child in December 2016.
Since her arrest, Quilligana has been held on $1 million bond. Her defense team has thus far rejected any plea deals, and, in April, her lawyers asked a judge to dismiss 15 of the 24 total charges.
A unnamed relative of the victims expressed surprise at Quilligana’s legal strategy, telling the Danbury News-Times, “It’s hard to refute the evidence once it’s seen by the public. There’s no gray area. There’s no interpretation. It’s in color, four cameras and audio. The video speaks for itself.” [Danbury News-Times]