The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, May 21, 2003  

Pennsylvania Woman Accused of Killing Three of Her Children

Details are still sketchy, but today's Philadelphia newspapers are carrying a wire story about a northern Pennsylvania woman accused of killing at least three of her children and then "the carried the corpses of three [of her] babies from state to state for nearly a decade…before abandoning them in a rented storage unit in a remote Arizona town." ("Corpses Lead to Mother's Arrest," the Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21.)

Yesterday, Dianne Gail O'Dell, 49, of Rome, Pa., in rural Bradford County, was charged with killing the three children.

New York state police also are investigating whether O'Dell killed a fourth child who was found in an abandoned car in 1989.

The three bodies were discovered last week in Safford, Ariz., where O'Dell lived between 1991 and 1992. One was mummified, one was skeletal, and the third was a combination of both, police said.[…]

On Monday, O'Dell drove to New York [S]tate, where the three children were born, for questioning. She was arraigned there on three counts of second-degree murder and ordered held yesterday in the Sullivan County Jail after not posting bail.

New York state police Maj. Alan Martin called the crime "pretty bizarre."

I'll say. And sad, too; don't forget sad. Beyond that...shades of Andrea Yates. I suspect that whole debate may soon be reopened.

[Post-publication addendum (May 23): Reader H.F. in Australia alerts me to a similar case in that country, that of Kathleen Megan Folbigg, this week found guilty of murdering three of her children and manslaughter in the death of her fourth child. ("Guilty: Mum Killed Her Four Babies," The Age [Melbourne], May 22.)]

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