Moms Behaving Badly: 10 Bad Mothers Who Made Horrible True Crime History

This rogue's gallery of nightmare moms includes woeful, tragic exceptions to how most of us experience our maternal relationships, with transgressions that range from Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome to fatal abuse to cold-blooded murder.

May 10, 2019
By: Mike McPadden

Photo By: Gypsy Rose Blanchard, Dee Dee Blanchard [Greene County Sheriff’s Office]

Photo By: Mug shot of Casey Anthony [Pinellas County Jail]

Photo By: Mug shots of Susan Smith [South Carolina Department of Corrections]

Photo By: Mug shot of Andrea Yates [Texas Department of Criminal Justice]

Photo By: Mug shot of Mary Elizabeth Moore [Delaware County Sheriff’s Office]

Photo By: Mug shot of Cordelia Adair [Montgomery County Sheriff's Office]

Photo By: Mug shot of Machelle Hobson [Pinal County Superior Court]

Photo By: Mug shot of Heather Langdon [Tulare County Sheriff's Office]

Photo By: Mug shot of Stephany LaFountain [Fairbanks Police Department]

Dee Dee Blanchard

Bad Behavior: Allegedly sickened and disabled her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, for decades before getting stabbed to death by Gypsy Rose’s boyfriend.

Dee Dee Blanchard allegedly subjected her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, to a lifetime of abuse arising from Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

In effect, Dee Dee allegedly spent decades poisoning and disabling Gypsy Rose by dosing her with powerful medications for ailments she didn’t have, subjecting her to extreme surgical procedures that were unnecessary, and forcing her to remained confined to a wheelchair.

Throughout Gypsy Rose’s ordeal, Dee Dee regularly collected donations from a multitude of charities and reportedly reveled in the attention her daughter’s “condition” brought to them.

The abuse ended on June 2014 when Gypsy Rose gave a knife to her boyfriend, Nick Godejohn, which he then used to stab Dee Dee to death.

After first going on the run, Gypsy Rose pleaded guilty in exchange for a 10-year sentence. Gypsy has since stated that she feels “freer” in jail than she did under Dee Dee’s control.

Godejohn went to trial, was found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison. [CrimeFeed]

For more on this case, watch Investigation Discovery's Gypsy's Revenge on ID GO now!

Casey Anthony

Bad Behavior: Tried and acquitted in the 2008 death of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee; found guilty of lying to police about the case; remains a hugely notorious figure.

Two-year-old Caylee Anthony was last seen alive in Orlando, Florida, on June 16, 2008, but not reported missing until July 15. The following day, police arrested Casey Anthony, Caylee’s 21-year-old single mother, and charged her with giving false statements to police, child neglect, and obstruction.

Finally, that December, Caylee’s skeletal remains were found not far from her home. The death was ruled a homicide, and Casey was charged with first-degree murder. The state opted to pursue the death penalty.

Casey’s trial lasted six weeks and became a social-media sensation. Prosecutors alleged that Casey killed Caylee with chloroform. The defense countered that she died accidentally in a pool, and her grandfather, George Anthony, hid the body.

Throughout the proceedings, many observers said Casey came off as preferring to party instead of caring for her daughter — at the very least. When the jury delivered a not guilty verdict on July 5, 2011, the public outrage was palpable.

Numerous lawsuits erupted after the murder trial, and new legislation, called “Caylee’s Law” was passed that upped the penalties for parents or guardians who don’t report a missing child in a timely fashion.

In the years since, Casey Anthony has loomed as one of the most infamous figures in modern culture, regularly generating controversy whenever she gets spotted. On March 22, 2019, a Fox News report claimed that Casey had allegedly gone back to “partying” and called her former life a “nightmare.” [CrimeFeed]

For more on this case, watch Investigation Discovery's Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery on ID GO now!

Susan Smith

Bad Behavior: Sank a car containing her two young children into a local lake, drowning both boys.

In 1994, 23-year-old sexual-abuse survivor Susan Smith loaded her sons Michael, age three, and Alex, age 13 months, into a car and let it roll off a boat ramp into John D. Long Lake in Union, South Carolina. Both boys drowned.

Afterward, Smith claimed she’d been carjacked by a black man who'd abducted her children. Investigators quickly saw through Smith’s bogus story, though, and arrested her.

Smith has a horrifying personal history of family suicide, violence, and long-term sex abuse at the hands of her stepfather, who later claimed he’d only had “consensual” relations with her when she was an adult.

Regardless, the heinous nature of Smith’s crime led to her being sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. In the ensuing years, Smith reportedly racked up numerous behavioral violations while behind bars, including having sex with two correctional officers. She remains eligible for parole in 2024. [CrimeFeed]

For more on Susan Smith, watch the "Murderous Women" episode of Investigation Discovery's Most Evil on ID GO now!

Andrea Yates

Bad Behavior: Drowned her five children in the family bathtub.

After the birth of her fifth child in 2000, Houston mom Andrea Yates was treated for severe postpartum depression, psychosis, and schizophrenia. Despite medical and religious efforts, Yates succumbed to her conditions on June 20, 2001 and drowned all five of her children, ranging in age from seven years to six months, in the family bathtub.

A jury initially found Yates guilty of murder, but rejected the death penalty. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. The conviction was overturned on appeal, however, due to false testimony from a prosecution witness.

Finally, in 2006, a new jury ruled that Yates is not guilty by reason of insanity. She was subsequently committed to a psychiatric facility, and remains in custody at Kerrville State Hospital. [Biography]

For more on Andrea Yates, watch the "Mothers Who Kill" episode of Investigation Discovery's Deadly Women on ID GO now!

Devin Moon

Bad Behavior: Charged with murder after toddler allegedly starved to death while she danced at a club.

Devin Moon, a professional club dancer in Georgia, reportedly called 911 to report that her almost three-year-old daughter, Reygan, was “unresponsive and cold to the touch” in July 2018.

Responders reported that Reygan weighed just 14 pounds when they found her dead; a healthy weight for a child of her age would be between 26 and 38 pounds. Police arrested Moon on the spot.

Gwinnett County Police Sergeant Jake Smith said that Moon left the toddler alone while she danced for “10 to 12 hours most nights.”

Police also said that Devin’s mother, Deborah Moon, had wanted to take Reygan under her care and that the family had contacted social services out of concern for the child four times in the previous year.

Devin Moon was charged with one count of felony murder and one count of cruelty to children in the first degree. Recently, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter stated that he's considering the death penalty for Moon. [CrimeFeed, 11Alive]

Mary Elizabeth Moore

Bad Behavior: Arrested for starving kids, forcing them to eat feces.

Police in Jay, Oklahoma, arrested Mary Elizabeth Moore in April 2019 for allegedly starving her two children and forcing them to eat feces.

Authorities say they found the severely malnourished children, ages five and three, living in squalid conditions, and upon getting them to the hospital, staffers “had to place them on a special diet and [apply] feeding tubes.”

One of the children reportedly had pinworms in her stool. According to Undersheriff Tracy Shaw, “ the child disclosed that she was allegedly being fed dog feces."

According to the arrest affidavit, Moore had previously been investigated multiple times by the Department of Human Services (DHS) due to her children’s failure to thrive.

Moore was charged with two counts of felony child neglect. The two children are now in state custody. [CrimeFeed, TulsaWorld]

Cordelia Adair

Bad Behavior: Arrested after all five of her kids tested positive for cocaine.

The Montgomery County Police Department investigated possible drug activity in a local residence and apprehended Cordelia Adair, 31, in September 2018 after her each of her five children reportedly tested positive for cocaine.

Officers said the victims were Adair’s four-year-old son, seven-year-old daughter, nine-year-old daughter, and her two older sons, ages 12 and 13.

Authorities charged Adair with a Class C felony, which applies to a person who “knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causes or permits a child to be exposed to, to ingest or inhale, or to have contact” with a controlled or chemical substance. [CrimeFeed]

Machelle Hobson

Bad Behavior: Arrested for allegedly beating, torturing, and starving her seven adopted kids to act in her popular YouTube series.

Prior to March 2019, Arizona mom Machelle Hobson, 48, was best known for her popular YouTube series, “Fantastic Adventures,” which featured her seven adopted, homeschooled children performing in various sketches. The channel had over 700,000 subscribers and had racked up over 240 million views.

That series was abruptly cancelled, however, when police allegedly discovered that the children were hit, refused food, and locked in closets for days with no food or water if they refused to participate in the videos.

Authorities said the children, who ranged in age from 6 to 15, appeared pale and malnourished. One child was reportedly found in a closet wearing only a pull-up diaper. The kids reportedly told the cops they were forced to take ice baths, with one child adding, "I either get beat with a hanger or belt, or a brush, or get pepper sprayed from head to toe.”

Hobson was initially charged with two counts of molestation of a child, seven counts of child abuse, five counts of unlawful imprisonment, and five counts of child neglect.

She was later reportedly scheduled to enter a plea on 24 counts of child abuse, five counts of kidnapping, and one count of aggravated assault.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety has removed all of the children from the home. [CrimeFeed, CBSNews]

Heather Langdon

Bad Behavior: Arrested for drowning her twin 10-month-old sons in motel bathtub.

Thirty-seven-year-old Heather Langdon was arrested in December 2018, after authorities found her 10-month-old twins sons unresponsive in a motel room, after Langdon had allegedly held them under water in the bathtub.

EMS workers reportedly attempted to revive the babies, but they were declared dead at the hospital.

Police had reportedly been called to a women’s shelter earlier that evening in response to reports that Langdon was causing a disturbance there. The staff then allegedly arranged for Langdon and the two babies, Mason and Maddox Murguia, to spend the night at the nearby Brooklyn Motor Lodge.

The day of the deaths, Maria Marez, a woman who lives near the motel, said she saw Langdon behaving erratically and repeatedly saying, “I almost drowned them, I almost drowned them.”

Officers arrested Langdon and charged her with murder and assault. [People]

Stephany LaFountain

Bad Behavior: Charged with drowning and killing her two baby daughters after allegedly searching online for “How to commit the perfect murder.”

Authorities in Fairbanks, Alaska, charged Stephany LaFoutain, 23, with the murders of her two infant daughters on two separate occasions after investigating her online history and reportedly discovering searches for:

• Ways to suffocate
• Best ways to suffocate
• Ways to kill human with no proof
• Can drowning show in an autopsy report
• 16 steps to kill someone and not get caught
• How to: Commit the Perfect Murder
• Drowning and Forensics
• Suffocating and Smothering

According to police records, LaFountain called emergency services on November 12, 2017, from her home at the Fort Wainwright military base in Fairbanks, Alaska, to report that her infant daughter had stopped breathing. The baby died four days later in a nearby hospital. An autopsy determined she had been healthy, and that the cause of death was lack of oxygen.

Investigators then reportedly discovered that, in 2015, LaFountain’s four-month-old daughter had died suddenly under similar circumstances. The cause of death was not officially determined, but the baby did show signs of suffocation, according to the report.

After an additional investigation, authorities arrested LaFountain and charged her with murder in the first and second degree in both cases. [CrimeFeed]