Behavior: Why Mothers Kill Their Babies

Severe distress afflicts some women in the months after giving birth

It is a bizarre and frightening deed, one that elicits an almost primal horror: an apparently normal mother suddenly snaps and kills her newborn child. Sadly, it is not all that rare. In April, according to police, Lucrezia Gentile, a Brooklyn housewife, reported that her two-month-old son had been abducted, then confessed that she had drowned him in his bath. Reason: she could not stand his incessant crying. A year earlier, Michele Remington, a factory worker in Bennington, Vt., fatally shot her infant son with a .22-cal. handgun before unsuccessfully trying to kill herself. Kathleen Householder, of Rippon, W. Va., hit...

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