Ten of the Worst Mothers in the United States

Ten of the Worst Mothers in the United States March 20, 2019


Without a Crystal Ball has covered many cases of mothers who abuse and kill their children. With dozens of cases analyzed and shared, we put together a list of the worst mothers featured on our site. Each of the mothers took extraordinary steps to hurt their children.

Mothers don’t always do bag things to their children. When mothers snap the lives of their children can become a living hell. Some of the women starve, abuse, or withhold medical care from their kids.

In some of the cases presented, the children survived the abuse. However, these children suffered sexual, physical, and emotional abuse by their moms.

In the worst stories, the mothers murdered their children in cold blood and showed little to no remorse. Here are the ten worst mothers we’ve featured on Without a Crystal Ball:

Cheyanne Harris:

The Iowa mother received a sentence of life in prison for the death of her 4-month-old son. Cheyanne Harris 0f Alta Vista, Iowa left her son in a mechanical swing for more than a week. Authorities found her son, Sterling Koehn, dead in a maggot infested diaper in a mechanical swing.

Amber Hampshire

An Illinois mother is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 14-year-old daughter. Police issued an arrest warrant for Amber Hampshire after an investigation determined she failed to treat her daughter’s diabetes. Emily Hampshire died in November as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis.


Candice Diaz

Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office

On New Years Day 2018, Police in Sumpter Township, Michigan responded to a call regarding an unresponsive child. Police and the medical examiner said that the child’s injuries were the worst they had ever witnessed in their career.

Gabrielle Barrett died as a result of septic shock related to horrendous abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother, Candice Diaz, and Candice’s boyfriend Brad Fields. Last week a judge sentenced Diaz to prison after she accepted a plea offer from the prosecution.


Jennifer Hand

In August, Nicholas Deon Thrash was convicted of raping and impregnating a ten-year-old girl. A court in Indiana sentenced Thrash to 160 years in prison. Thrash repeatedly assaulted his girlfriend’s daughter. Jennifer Hand aided and assisted in the abuse of her daughter. Shortly after Thrash received the massive prison sentence, Jennifer struck a plea deal with the state of Indiana. The details of the plea agreement further detail the mother’s involvement in the horrific crime.

Danita Tutt

Google images

Danita Tutt, of Cleburne, Texas, is accused of making her son sick and lying to others that her son was dying. Her son, Colby, was removed from the home in May 2016 by Child Protective Services. When CPS removed him, he weighed 51 pounds, a central line, colostomy bag, and a feeding tube.

Zulma Chavez

A stepmother became a step-monster by killing her step-daughter. A California court charged a stepmother in the brutal death of her 4-year-old stepdaughter. According to multiple reports, Zulma Chavez-Ventura stomped, kicked and slammed her stepdaughter into the ground. Ultimately, the injuries led to the death of her 4-year-0ld stepdaughter Serenity.

Angela Poole

Photo: Special to the Registry

An Iowa court sentenced a 25-year-old mother to 10 years in prison for the starvation death of her 2-month old son. Angel Poole pled guilty to child endangerment as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Her son Judah Wessels died in July 2016 and weighed only five pounds.


Rachel Piland

In February 2017, 3-day-old Abigail Piland died after her parents refused to take her to the hospital for medical help. Abigail died from complications associated with jaundice and RH disease. Abigail’s parents, Rachel and Joshua Piland, refused medical care for the girl and instead prayed for her resuscitation. Authorities arrested Rachel and Joshua Piland in November 2017 for involuntary manslaughter. When Rachel delivered another baby in July 2018, the couple again refused to seek care for the baby. The baby was removed from the couple’s home and required emergency medical intervention to survive.


Elizabeth Malone

Elizabeth Malone Fairfax County Detention Center

A Virginia mother admitted to putting her blood in her son’s nose, mouth, tracheotomy, and central line during her son’s hospitalization last year. Elizabeth Malone said she tampered with her son’s lines to gain attention from the hospital staff. She was arrested in April 2018 and charged with child abuse.

Michele Rothgeb

Warwick Police Department

An adoptive mother of 8 children with special needs was arrested for the negligent death of her nine-year-old daughter. The girl’s older brother found her face-down in a bathtub. Her brother told police his mother asked him to care for his sister because she was sick with the flu. He left her in the bathtub for more than eight hours. Police arrested Michele Rothgeb and charged her with cruelty to or neglect of a child.

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*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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