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10 Cases of Mothers Slain by Their Own Children on Mother’s Day

by Julie Henthorn
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

While Mother’s Day is celebrated on different dates around the world, the premise of the holiday remains the same. Mother’s Day is a day set aside to celebrate maternal love and sacrifice. This holiday is one meant to shower mothers with cards, candy, flowers, and most of all, love.

Although these material gifts cannot truly ever repay a mother for countless years of taking care of their children when sick, helping with homework, making home-cooked meals, and tending to the needs of the home and everyone in it, this day and these small tokens of gratitude serve as a way to thank mothers for all that they’ve done and continue to do in the lives of their children.

Unfortunately, for the mothers on this list, a day meant to celebrate their role in the family became the day they would lose their lives at the hands of their own children. While the motives behind these chilling and brutal crimes vary—deep-seated resentment, petty arguments, tragic freak accidents, and mental illness—each story shares a common thread of betrayal and unimaginable violence against the very women who gave them life.

Here are ten chilling cases of mothers slain by their own children on Mother’s Day.

Related: 10 Mothers Who Raised Murderers

10 Cheryl Lynch

On July 13, 2000, while on training exercises in France with the Army, Christopher Reed Lynch fell from an aircraft two and a half stories high. The fall caused Christopher to spend 28 days in a coma and left him with a traumatic brain injury that impacted nearly every part of his brain, particularly the frontal lobe. Once Christopher returned home, his mother, Cheryl Lynch, assumed the role of his caregiver.

Aside from being Christopher’s caregiver, Cheryl became a champion for veterans with brain injuries. Cheryl started a support group called American Veterans with Brain Injuries and even went before a congressional committee to share their story in 2009, detailing the difficulty she and Christopher faced navigating the federal system in order to get proper help.

Unfortunately, Cheryl’s life would be taken by the person she worked so hard to care for—her son Christophe. At approximately 1:30 a.m. on May 8, 2016, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in Pace, Florida, about a person beating a dog. When deputies arrived, they heard yelling and the sounds of someone in distress. However, before they could find the source of the sound, they were approached by 38-year-old Christopher, who was bloodied and wielding an iron rod with a hook on the end.

Christopher became violent, punching one of the officers in the head and hitting the patrol car with the rod. It took Christopher being tased several times in order to restrain him so he could be placed in leg irons and handcuffs. Once deputies were able to access the scene, they discovered Cheryl lying on the porch.

Cheryl had multiple lacerations on her face, her eyes were swollen shut, and she was unable to fully speak. Eventually, she was able to tell one of the deputies that Christopher had hit her, although she couldn’t remember what happened. Cheryl was taken to the Sacred Heart Hospital’s trauma center but later died as a result of her injuries.

Christopher was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, second-degree open battery, third-degree battery, second-degree assault on an officer, and third-degree resisting an officer with violence. However, several medical professionals later testified that due to Christopher’s brain injury, “he was acutely psychotic, in the midst of a manic episode, not oriented” at the time of Cheryl’s death.

On April 24, 2018, Christopher was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was ordered to be moved to a state facility and involuntarily hospitalized indefinitely.[1]

9 Sarah Hankerson

Seventy-two-year-old Sarah Hankerson went by her son’s home—42-year-old Christopher Edwards— in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, every day to help him take care of his pit bull. Unfortunately, during her visit on May 8, 2022, the dog attacked Edwards inside the home.

Edwards grabbed his gun and fired a shot, all while still struggling with the dog. However, rather than scaring or subduing the pit bull, the round accidentally struck Hankerson. When first responders arrived at the home, they performed life-saving measures, but sadly, Hankerson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The police stated that the incident appeared to be accidental, and Edwards has not been charged.[2]

8 Molly Gladney

Given 35-year-old Antonio Gladney’s felonious criminal history, it’s understandable that he had become estranged from his mother, 66-year-old Molly Gladney. Unfortunately, the legal system that was set in place to protect Molly failed. Antonio was released early for his prior convictions, ultimately resulting in a brutal Mother’s Day murder.

On May 14, 2017, Antonio used flowers and a Mother’s Day card to convince his mother to let him in her Shannon, Mississippi, home. An argument ensued between mother and son, and Antonio hit Molly in the head with a garden tool. The argument didn’t stop there, and Antonio continued to savagely attack his mother in the head and face during the assault, which started inside the home and tragically ended in the carport. Antonio then fled the scene.

Law enforcement was called to the area on “an alarm call” and later discovered Molly’s body in her carport, with multiple traumatic injuries to her head, face, and hands. Sadly, Molly did not survive the horrific ordeal. Later that evening, Antonio returned to the home and spoke with law enforcement. He was arrested on May 15, 2017, and charged with murder, felony fleeing, aggravated assault, and burglary, along with other charges.

Four days after the killing, Antonio stated he was ready to “man up” and admitted to killing his mother, claiming he “was under the influence of something.” However, as Antonio awaited trial for his mother’s murder, he pulled a shank (a homemade knife) on Lee County Detention officers as they performed cell pod inspections on June 29, 2019. Antonio lunged at the officers with the knife, threatening to stab them, resulting in additional charges—two counts of aggravated assault on a corrections officer.

Rather than going to trial, Antonio pleaded guilty to murder and one count of aggravated assault on November 18, 2019. He was sentenced to life in prison on the murder charge and an additional 25 years for aggravated assault.[3]

7 Kathy McEachern

On Mother’s Day of 2011, what should have been a joyous holiday quickly turned tragic—sadly, over a dispute stemming from the use of social media.

On May 8, 2011, 17-year-old Joshua David McEachern of Greenville, South Carolina, got into an argument with his mother, 59-year-old Kathy McEachern, regarding Joshua’s use of YouTube. During the dispute, Joshua shot Kathy in the face. Joshua’s older brother, 21-year-old Daniel McEachern, heard the shots and ran into the room, but Joshua shot him in the chest three times.

At approximately 9:30 p.m., Joshua called 911 and informed the dispatcher that he had shot his mother and his brother. When deputies arrived, they found Kathy suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and unfortunately, she was pronounced dead at the scene. Daniel was taken to a local hospital in critical condition but survived.

A clinical psychiatrist later testified on Joshua’s behalf, stating that he has autism and had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. On September 5, 2012, Joshua pleaded guilty but mentally ill to voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, and possession of a handgun during a violent crime. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison.[4]

6 Penny Wilson Newton

On May 14, 2019, police received a call regarding a burned vehicle along the Choctawhatchee River near Hartford, Alabama. When Hartford police and Geneva County sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, they found a car burned beyond recognition, along with human remains. The remains were later identified as 58-year-old Penny Wilson Newton.

On May 15, 2019, Newton’s son, 36-year-old Chad Brogdon, was identified as a person of interest. That morning, a sheriff’s deputy located Brogdon, who smelled of smoke, had burns on his body, and was wearing a pair of boots that matched shoe prints from the crime scene. Brogdon was taken in for questioning while investigators searched his home. There, they found carpet removed from one room, rope that was a match to the rope found at the scene, and evidence of blood in the freezer.

On May 16, 2019, Brogdon was arrested and charged with murder and abuse of a corpse. Authorities believe Brogdon killed Newton on Mother’s Day at her home in Level Plains, Alabama, and then drove 20 miles (32 km) before setting the car on fire with Newton’s remains inside.

On May 12, 2022, Brogdon was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 20 years. However, no motive for the murder was ever given.[5]

5 Nancy Heithecker

Seventy-five-year-old Nancy Heithecker’s daughter went to her house for Mother’s Day on May 12, 2013. However, when she asked 49-year-old Kirk Heithecker where Nancy was, Kirk responded by saying that she was dead and “under the trash.” The unnamed daughter contacted the sheriff’s office at approximately 6:30 p.m., requesting a welfare check.

Upon arriving at the home in Decatur, Texas, investigators found a large pile of trash in front of the house with Nancy’s body underneath. When Kirk was questioned, he told investigators Nancy was sitting on the loveseat in the living room and that he “killed his mother with his heel” and was “sending her to hell.” Kirk stated he then took Nancy’s body outside and threw trash on her because he could still see her. Nancy’s cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma and strangulation.

Kirk was charged with murder. However, a psychologist who evaluated Kirk stated he had a history of mental illness dating back to his 20s. While Kirk had taken medication for many years, he had stopped taking his antipsychotic and mood stabilizer medications prior to Nancy’s death. The psychologist also testified that Kirk stated he felt threatened by his mother and even thought she might be trying to kill him.

On November 12, 2013, Kirk was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed for 180 days in a state hospital.[6]

4 Doris Carasi

On May 14, 1995, 30-year-old Paul Carasi took his mother, 61-year-old Doris Carasi, his ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Sonia Salinas, and his 2-year-old son, Michael, to a Mother’s Day dinner at the Country Star restaurant, located at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, California. Later that night, Paul reported that he had been attacked in the CityWalk parking garage by knife-wielding robbers, who stabbed Salinas and his mother to death. Michael, however, was unharmed.

Fifteen minutes later, Paul’s girlfriend, 33-year-old Donna Lee, called authorities from a Hollywood Freeway emergency call box approximately 4 miles (6 km) from CityWalk, claiming she had been stabbed. When California Highway Patrol officers arrived, they found Lee with serious knife wounds to her stomach. They also found several bloodstained items belonging to Paul, Doris, and Salinas in or near Lee’s car.

However, both Paul and Lee gave inconsistent stories about the attacks. Additionally, Paul suffered only minor wounds, and most of the blood on his clothes came from Salinas. Investigators also discovered Lee’s blood at the murder scene.

It was later discovered that in the months leading up to Doris and Salinas’ deaths, not only had Salinas left Paul, but he had lost custody of Michael and was ordered to pay $375 in child support, which was deducted from his wages. The mounting financial strain led to resentment, and on more than one occasion, Paul claimed he’d be better off if Salinas were dead and he didn’t have to pay child support.

Paul was also upset with his mother because of the relationship that she and Salinas shared, even after the couple’s separation, as the two remained friends. He had even gone so far as to seek out a restraining order against his own mother because she often fought with Lee. Therefore, Paul and Lee killed the two women in a parking structure as Michael sat in the back seat of the car, attempting to make their deaths look like a robbery.

Both Paul and Lee were found guilty of first-degree murder with special circumstances of multiple murder, lying in wait, and murder for financial gain. On April 14, 1998, Paul was given the death penalty, and Lee was sentenced to life in prison without parole.[7]

3 Linda Cooney

At approximately 12:30 a.m. on May 14, 2023, one of 49-year-old Aaron Michael Cooney’s brothers decided to take his dog for a walk. When the unnamed brother left the home in Las Vegas, Nevada, their mother, 70-year-old Linda Karen Cooney, was in the den. When the brother returned home, Linda was no longer in the den, but after seeing her bedroom door closed, he assumed his mother had simply gone to bed.

However, around 6 a.m., Aaron asked his brother if he had a key to their mother’s bedroom. The brother told Aaron he didn’t have a key but suggested that Aaron either knock on the door or use a credit card to open it. Aaron chose the latter option, making a loud noise after using the credit card to open the door. Given the loud noise, the brother assumed Linda would have woken up, but he didn’t hear her say anything.

The brother then heard Aaron open Linda’s closet door, where numerous rifles were kept. Aaron’s brother panicked, grabbed his own handgun, and went into his mother’s room. However, Linda was not in her bed. When Aaron’s brother asked where their mother was, Aaron stated he had stabbed her to death because “That’s not our mom anyways. We need a new one. She was a robot.”

Aaron’s brother then went outside to call 911 but sadly saw Linda face down in the pool, bleeding from multiple stab wounds. The brother jumped into the pool to pull Linda out. Unfortunately, when medical personnel arrived at the home, Linda was pronounced dead at the scene.

When police questioned Aaron, he told them he needed to go to the hospital because “he heard voices.” Aaron was arrested and charged with open murder. However, on July 12, 2023, Aaron was found not competent to stand trial. He was ordered to treatment at a mental health facility until he is competent to stand trial.[8]

2 Tina Marie Webb

Thirty-six-year-old Joshua Lee Webb had vision problems and lived at home in Colton, Oregon, so his parents could care for him. However, Joshua’s mother, 59-year-old Tina Marie Webb, had confided in Joshua’s sister, Sarah Morris-White, stating Joshua “had been doing weird things” and was “losing his mind.” For example, Joshua believed that his girlfriend was injecting him with an unknown substance, a black box in the garage was recording him, and that Fox TV “owned him.” Sadly, these hallucinations would lead Joshua to do the unthinkable and kill his own mother.

On May 14, 2017, Morris-White arrived at her parents’ house with her children to celebrate Mother’s Day but found a gruesome scene—her mother’s headless body on the floor. Distraught, Morris-White then went to a neighbor’s home and asked them to call the police. However, around the same time, a 911 call came in from the Harvest Market grocery store in Estacada, Oregon, about 12 miles (19 km) north of the Webb home.

Joshua had walked into the store carrying an 8-inch (20 cm) knife in one hand and his mother’s head in the other. Joshua then ran to the back of the store, and when he encountered one of the clerks, Michael Wagner, Joshua told him to run before stabbing him multiple times. Despite the attack, Wagner chased after Joshua and tackled him. Joshua was eventually subdued by other employees, who taped his hands and feet until police arrived. Both Joshua and Wagner were taken to a local hospital, and Wagner survived the stabbing.

On May 15, 2017, Joshua was booked into jail but remained in a “catatonic state” for hours before eventually confessing to killing his mother along with his dog and stabbing Wagner. He was charged with murder, attempted murder, first-degree abuse of a corpse, and first-degree aggravated animal abuse.

Joshua was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis, and despite being on antipsychotic medication for a year, he continued to both hear and respond to voices. On June 26, 2018, Joshua was found guilty of murder by reason of insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital.[9]

1 Mwassa Tafari

Tunyejah Tafari Thompson said his younger brother, 21-year-old Abednego Tafari Thompson, had been displaying unusual behavior for a year, causing significant trouble within the family. Unfortunately, whatever challenges he was facing led Abednego to commit a heinous crime.

On May 14, 2023, Abednego used a metal object to inflict multiple wounds on his mother- 59-year-old Mwassa Tafari—disfiguring her face and ultimately killing her. Abednego then fled the area. However, knowing that Abednego was the only person living with Mwassa in the Obosomase-Akuapem region of Ghana, a group of local youth quickly organized a search party to find him. Abednego was later located between Obosomase and Dodowa.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen