Saturday, 26 November 2011

FILICIDE: Missouri: Shelby Dasher charged

, November 16, 2011  
The first reports about Tyler Dasher on Tuesday were that he was reported missing from his crib by his distraught mother, Shelby Dasher.
Hours after 13-month old Tyler was reported missing, his body was found near a cemetery a mile from his house in Affton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.
Now the horrible truth is known.  Tyler was a victim of filicide, murder by a parent.  Shelby Dasher admitted to police on Wednesday that she beat her son to death and disposed of his body.
According to St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch, Shelby Dasher stated that Tyler "wouldn't lay down, wouldn't go to sleep" and that she beat him to death.
Shelby Dasher joins a score of infamous mothers and fathers who have murdered their own children.  For those who lovingly care for their children, this crime is unimaginable.
Yet every day 3-5 children are killed by a parent.  Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for children under age four.
Of the 49 women currently on death row, 11 killed children.  The killing of newborns is the most common case of mothers who murder their child.
Statistics show that the day a child is born is the day they are most likely to be killed.
Mothers who kill their child more often kill newborns and young children.  Fathers who kill their child are more likely to kill the entire family, an act called familicide.
Mothers who kill their infant child are more likely to share some similarities:
Higher than average rates of depression
  • Young mothers
  • Lack of parental experience
  • Stress from external sources
Some stresses the mothers face are poverty, unemployment, mental illness, and marital problems.  Mothers who kill older children frequently suffer from mental illness.
But many mothers, especially young mothers, suffer from these and other stresses without killing their children.  Why to parents kill children?
Generally, mothers or fathers who commit filicide fall into one of five categories:
  • Mother plans or tries to commit suicide and feels children will be better off going with her
  • Parent is acutely psychotic
  • Parent is getting rid of an unwanted baby, usually a newborn
  • Fatally beats their child to death
  • Kills to get revenge against a spouse
There are organizations nationwide to help parents deal with the stress of raising a child.  In Virginia, the organization Prevent Child Abuse Virginia is one such organization.
PCAV offers both direct services and education about positive parenting including the Healthy Families Virginia which focuses on many services to new parents.
There are many places Shelby Dasher could have turned for help: family, friends, and community organizations.  Sadly, her son paid the ultimate price.

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