Guest Author - Donna Johnson
Despite the fact that many pregnant women who are murdered fall victim to their husbands, boyfriends or the fathers of their unborn children, they also are vulnerable to other people they know or even complete strangers. In some of these cases, the motivation for murder is the unborn child, who the murderer often delivers by Cesarean section and kidnaps.
On December 16, 2004, Bobbie Jo Stinnett waited at her Skidmore, Missouri home for Darlene Fisher, a woman she’d met in an online rat terrier community who had expressed interest in buying a dog from Stinnett. Unbeknownst to Stinnett, however, Darlene Fisher was really Lisa Montgomery, a 36-year-old woman with a reported history of faking pregnancies. Montgomery strangled Stinnett, removing and taking Stinnett’s baby girl, later named Victoria, with her. Stinnett’s mother found her daughter’s body and alerted authorities, who put out an Amber Alert for Victoria. Another user of the rat terrier site pointed police to Montgomery, who’d been showing Victoria off as her own. Montgomery was tried and convicted of murder in 2007, receiving the death sentence.
In 2011, Bowling Green, Kentucky resident Jamie Stice was eight months pregnant with a baby boy when she was murdered. Like Stinnett, Stice met her killer, 33-year-old Michelle Coy, online. The two women struck up a friendship on Facebook and planned a shopping trip for baby supplies, as Coy claimed to be expecting a child as well. While on the trip, Coy took the 21-year-old mother-to-be into the woods, attacking her with a stun gun and slitting her throat and wrists before removing her baby boy. In a bizarre twist, Coy then went directly to a local hospital, claiming to have given birth to the boy, despite the fact that she showed no signs of recently giving birth or even being pregnant. The child, later named Isaiah, was unharmed by his ordeal. Coy pleaded guilty but mentally ill to avoid the death penalty the following year and was sentenced to life in prison.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez of Wisconsin has not yet gone to trial for the 2011 murder of 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez Cruz, but may be able to plead insanity due to a psychological evaluation that found Rodriguez has two personalities. Her alter ego “Lara”, who is said to have resulted from Rodriguez’s childhood sexual abuse, is said to have been in control during the murder. The baby boy, who was to be named Omar, did not survive the attack on his mother.
Unlike the other accused killers, Ohio resident Michelle Bica, who is believed to have murdered Theresa Andrews, a pregnant 23-year-old who lived just four blocks away, will never come to trial. As police moved in on Bica a week after Andrews’ disappearance, the 39-year-old shot and killed herself. Andrews’ son, Oscar, was reunited with his father, Jon Andrews, after DNA tests confirmed the baby’s identity.