Marybeth Tinning is an American serial killer, killing 9 of her children. Tinning was born in Duanesburg, a small town in New York. She had one younger brother, and they both attended Duanesburg School. Tinning was described by her former teachers as no more than an average student. Her father’s name was Alton Roe, and he worked as a press operator for General Electric, the area’s largest employer. Nothing is ever mentioned of Tinning’s mother, so she either died or was not in her life.
During Police interviews Tinning claimed that she was abused by her father during her childhood. In 1986, Tinning confessed to a police officer that her father had once beaten her and locked her in a closet. “My father hit me with a flyswatter,” Tinning told the court, “because he had arthritis and his hands were not of much use. And when he locked me in my room I guess he thought I deserved it. ” However, Tinning denied that her father had bad intentions during her courtroom testimony. Tinning had dreams of going on to college, but she never went. She started her early adulthood off working a series o f low wage, unskilled job.
Later on, she eventually became a nurse’s aid at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. In 1963, she met her husband Joe tinning on a blind date with some friends. Joe was described as shy, kind man with no criminal record. They got along well with each other and got married two years later in the spring of 1965. Joe also worked and General Electric as Tinning’s father did. Marybeth was considered to be am average looking adult women. Standing at 5’4 inches tall, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Joe and Marybeth appeared to have a very normal marriage they both worked very hard.
There was only one abnormal and persistent problem; their children began to die one by one. Marybeth killed he children in very similar situations. The children never reached adolescence; they were all killed in early childhood. The deaths of her children were known to the community but the details about how the children died were never brought to the light. Their deaths were not really questioned, but ruled as some kind of curse put unto the Tinning’s. The doctors claimed once that the Tinning children had genetic deficiencies that caused the early deaths because Marybeth’s first child actually died in the hospital, never making it home.
Even after being convicted, evidence shows no constant method in which Marybeth killed her children. Marybeth has committed to smothering a couple, and evidence shows that she probably drugged and poisoned the others. However, there are consistencies in the situations in which each of the children had died. The night before almost every child died Marybeth would rush them to the emergency room. She would make something up saying that the child had had concussions, seizures, asthma attacks, etc. After the doctor would observe the child, the child would be sent back home.
Tinning always opposed of letting the child stay overnight, even though she had rushed them to the ER room very worried and dramatic. The very next day, Marybeth would show up at the Emergency room with either dead or unconscious children. The children were almost always blue in the face when taken to the emergency room. Marybeth Tinning killed her children very close in time. She killed her first 3 children with 90 days. Marybeth also had another similar occurrence in the death of her children. Marybeth never had any rational explanations for the deaths of her children; she would just say that the child had stopped breathing.
After Tinning had murdered her first 3 children she began to kill each child much quicker, while they were still infancy. The second set of children was now brain dead instead of blue when returned to the hospital. This indicated that Marybeth was no longer smothering her children. Doctors believed the Tinning’s children were dying of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). But that changed when her adopted son Michael also suffered a similar death as the other biological children did. Her last child also died in infancy on a changing table, Tinning claimed that the child was just found lifeless. This time there was a witness.
Tinning called her neighbor who was a nurse instead of the ER this time. “She wasn’t moving,” Walter said in court, “She was purple and I couldn’t feel pulse or respiration. She was not breathing”. Also, another similarity amongst the killings was that all the children died while under the care of Marybeth. No one else was around, and none of the murders were committed in public places. The scene was just Marybeth and the child, not even Joe had any suspicions because nothing ever happened while he was around. Marybeth was beat by her father a lot all over, and it could have been possible that she was beaten across the head.
Tinning could have been suffering from brain damage, which would of gave her a neurological explanation of why she killed her children. Accord to an neurologist who studied the case of Tinning, she could have injured a part of her brain that caused her to lack empathy and have compulsions to kill. As described by her neighbors, Tinning never showed mourning and sorrow when her children had died. She was always happy and smiling at the funerals, which show that she had irregular emotions. According to Erikson’s sociocultural stages, Marybeth Tinning did not overcome the first two stages, which are very important.
In the first stage, learning basic trust versus basic mistrust, without a mother, her father was not nurturing at all. Tinning was most likely badly handled, and therefore became insecure and mistrustful. In the second stage, learning autonomy versus shame (will), Tinning was also not able to master. Her father beat her at a young age, not giving her a chance to figure things out on her own or become independent. Tinning did not learn that self will and she went into school very insecure lacking the first two developmental stages. Throughout school she never excelled or stuck out, she just blended in.
This indicates no self identity. She wanted to go to college but didn’t and that was probably because he lack of self will. She just settled for low wage jobs. And you can see she killed her children because she did not know how to be a loving mother because she was so messed up herself and lacked nourishment. “I smothered them each with a pillow because I’m not a good mother. I’m not a good mother because of the other children” (Tinning). Tinning was so insecure that she did not believe in herself that she could be a good mother. Freud would say that Tinning’s personality was ruled by the id.
She had no sense of reality whatsoever. She killed her kid back to back without realizing that eventually there would be suspicion. She was a compulsive killer and that explains why she killed her children so closely together. She had no control to wait; she just had to do it only just months after the child was born. Marybeth tinning was diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Munchausen syndrome is when caregiver intentionally harms their children and convince themselves and others that their child was really sick They do it for attention and sympathy because ost individuals are not secure so they need attention to make them feel better about themselves. Marybeth Tinning in the end was only convicted of one of the murders, and sentenced to one life sentence. Although there is strong evidence that she killed all of her children. Tinning was always seemed emotionless when her children died, she was motivated to kill because loved the attention she got when her child died. Tinning is criminally insane; she had no sense of reality. She even believed herself that her children died of natural causes. She did not mean to harm her children but her insecurities about herself caused her to.