Amelia Dyer was a serial killer in 1800s Victorian England. She would brutally murder infants in her care for her financial gain.
She grew up a well-educated woman and was a caretaker to her mother, who had become very ill. This illness drove her mother to mental instability. After her mother passed, Ameilia was married and had a child with George Thomas. When he died, she was left alone with a child to raise and no income; thus, she began her career as a midwife and baby farmer.
In need of money, she advertised herself as a married baby farmer and would take care of the child in exchange for a one-time payment. Dyer decided that instead of using the money on the child she cared for, she would get rid of the infant and pocket the money for herself and her newborn.
She would overdose the infants on opioids and then call the coroner to confirm the deaths saying she was so sad they had passed so soon.
In 1879, a doctor became suspicious of her, and she was reported and sent to a labor camp for neglect.
Once out of the camp, Amelia again began to send out ads and collect payments for children. If parents ever asked for their child back, she would give them a different baby she had received.
Instead of declaring infants’ death to the corner now, she began to dispose of the infants herself; she would wrap them and place their bodies in different places throughout the town, each death a bit different from the last so as not to establish a pattern authorities could track.
When she felt the authorities were suspicious, she would fake a mental breakdown, check herself into asylums claiming suicidal thoughts, and move towns upon release. She would adopt a new identity in the cities and move to various regions so the police and parents could not find her.
She was accused of killing 3000 children though many believe it was much more.
How She was Caught
In March 1896, a little girl’s body was found floating down a river. The child was wrapped in package wrapping paper with a name written on a corner — Mrs. Thomas and the address of Amelia. Despite this, they still couldn’t link her to the crime.
They set up a trap by having young women put out a fake ad and set up a meeting with Dyer. At the meeting, police ambushed Amelia’s home, searching and finding the paper the infant in the river had been wrapped in and telegrams from parents asking about their children.
Police arrested her and found six bodies, all of which Amelia Dyer admitted to killing.
What happened to her?
She only pleaded guilty to one murder saying she was insane, and used her visits to asylum stays as evidence of such. However, the jury decided those visits were only used as a decoy to avoid capture.
At 9 AM on June 10, 1896, Amelia Dyer was executed.
Dyer’s case grew in attention and pushed for adoption laws, policing of baby farms, and awareness of child abuse.
Although these extreme serial killer cases, wrongful death can occur in many different scenarios. If one of your loved ones passed away due to wrongful death, or medical malpractice, contact an attorney at Robert J. DeBry and Associates today.