A German woman has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in the murders of five of her own children shortly after giving birth in secret. The 28-year-old unnamed mother claimed her husband would likely leave her if she had any more children.
Authorities say the mother confessed to the infanticide deaths after she submitted to a DNA test. The woman, who has two living children aged 8 and 10 years, began hiding her pregnancies, killing the infants after giving birth to two at home and three others in the woods.
According to the case’s prosecutor, Ulrike Stahlmann-Liebelt, “She has said that the family lived at a certain level of prosperity, that it was clear her husband did not want any more children, and that one reason was to preserve this standard, and she feared that might be endangered if another child were there.”
“She had the impression her husband would leave her if she had any more children, and that’s why she didn’t tell anyone she was pregnant, including her husband,” Stahlmann-Liebelt said.
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The husband has told police that he knew nothing about the pregnancies, Stahlmann-Liebelt said, and it wasn’t entirely clear how the woman managed to keep them secret.
Stahlmann-Liebelt said there have been other cases when woman’s pregnancy can go unnoticed by their partners and others.
Police found the first infant’s body dumped in a paper sorting station in 2006 about 15 kilometers (nine miles) away from the town of Husum where the woman lived. The second was found in a parking area off a regional highway, also about the same distance from Husum but in a different direction, in 2007.
After reading news reports that DNA results had confirmed the two children had the same parents, the woman then decided not to dispose the other bodies in public places, police official Dirk Czarnetzki said.
She hid the next three infants – whose existence authorities were unaware of until the woman’s confession – in boxes in the basement of the building where she lived.