Child Adoption and Murder
Adoption and Parenticide: Seeking Truth and Justice
- 2006. Brandon Christopher Menard, 26, of California was sentenced to three consecutive sentences of life in prison without parole, plus a term of 25 years to life for shooting his father, shooting and stabbing his mother, and stabbing his 16-year-old sister all to death.
- 2008. Heather D’Aoust, 14, was charged as an adult after her adoptive mother, Rebecca, died as the result of being hit in the head with a hammer or other blunt object in her home. Heather was reported to have “a history of emotional problems and mental illness.” She reportedly planned to kill everyone in the house, including her sister and her sister’s boyfriend. She was sentenced to 16 years to life.
- 2007. Aaron Howard, 19, of Ottawa, Canada pleaded guilty in the murder of his adoptive mother who was battered in the head with a lead pipe. He was sentenced to life in prison.
- 2007. Graham Beange, 20, of Toronto, Canada was charged with the attempted murder after his adoptive father died having been bludgeoned with a hammer.
- 1997. Patrick Niiranen, from Oregon, beat his adoptive parents to death with a hammer. He was reported as seeking to find his natural mother who he fantasized about. Both physical abuse and cocaine use were also cited as motivation.
- 1991. Patrick Campbell, 39, from Connecticut. bludgeoned both parents to death. He was sentenced to death.
- 1991. Matthew Heikklia, 20, Bernards Twp., NJ, used a sawed-off shotgun to kill his adoptive parents. About the time his adoption was finalized, Mrs. Heikkila became pregnant. On the day she was murdered, she had started a letter to her son Joshua in which she complained about Matthew. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
- 1990. Larry Swartz, 17, from Baltimore, MD. was the subject of the bookSudden Fury, A True Story of Adoption and Murder by Leslie Walker. Larry was sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing deaths of both adoptive parents. It has been reported that when the time came to sentence Swartz, even the judge struggled to fight back the tears.
- 1987. Daniel Kasten, 19, of New York was charged with shooting his adoptive parents in the head during his sophomore year at the state university in Stony Brook College studying physics and mathematics. His attorneys pleaded he had psychosis and schizophrenia. He had allegedly planned to kill his siblings and grandparents as well.
- 1985. Jeremy Bamber, 24, from the UK killed his adoptive parents, sister, and her two six-year-old sons. Money was thought to be the motive for this killing spree.
- 1984. Patrick DeGelleke, 14, of New York was found guilty of setting the fire that killed both of his adoptive parents when he was just 14-years-old.
- 2012. Gabriel Hall, 18, of College Station, Texas is currently facing charges for attacking and killing total strangers. Hall – a straight-A student who attended classes the day after the murder – said it wasn’t rage but rather a “killer instinct” that drove him to it. Gabriel had been adopted from the Philippines at 11 years of age with 3 siblings by a family who had about a dozen adopted kids. His adopters – who were not present at his court appearance – had allegedly “kicked out” three of their adopted children. It is unknown whether any of those sent away were Hall’s siblings by birth.
- 2007. Joshua Komisarjevsky, 31, of New Haven, CT was sentenced to death for the headline grabbing slaughter of a mother and her two daughters, who were also raped, and the torching of their home with them in it. His lawyer attributed the Connecticut massacre that made headlines around the world in part to personal troubles, including learning disabilities, childhood sexual abuse and the revelation at age 14 that he had been adopted as a baby.
[A]doptees have reason to be angry, and it is unrelated to how good or bad their adoptive parents parented. It has to do with loss of control, loss of identity, loss of culture, loss of heritage, loss of language, loss of first families, loss, loss, loss. And you can gain, gain, gain — a permanent family, a different culture, a different language, a different heritage, more material goods than you can shake a stick at! — and still feel loss.
I’m angry about my adoption, but not an angry person in general….. There you are, a bona-fide SOCIAL EXPERIMENT…the subject of books written by experts, the topic of radio call-in shows and newspaper articles and morning television show segments. But nobody ever wants to hear what it’s like to live life as an adoptee. Not if the script doesn’t include the words, ‘happy’ or ‘grateful’.
Every adopted child at some point in his development, has been deprived of this primitive relationship with his mother. This trauma and the severing of the individual from his racial antecedents lie at the core of what is peculiar to the psychology of the adopted child….[who]is called upon to compensate for the wound left by the loss of the biological mother.….every child…has a recourse to phantasy when he finds himself frustrated, threatened or incapable of dominating his environment. For the adopted child it is not a phantasy that these parents with whom he lives with are not his parents, it is reality.For the adopted child, the [fantasy] parents are obviously the unknown lost real parents. His normal ambivalence will make use of this reality situation to focus his love impulses on one set of parents and his hate impulses on another. He finds an easy escape from the frustrations inherent in his home education by assuming the attitude that these, his adoptive parents, are his bad and wicked persecutors, whereas his dimly remembered own or foster parents, from whom he was ‘stolen’ are represented in his phantasy as the good parents to whom he owes his love and allegiance.