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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Three Mothers Murdered Five Children Before Killing Themselves: The Murder-Suicde Epidemic

Jennifer Berman

     Until her divorce in 2013, Jennifer Berman, 50, lived with her husband Richard and their two teenage children in a nice home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Sixteen-year-old Alexander Berman and his sister Jacqueline, 15, were accomplished musicians who attended the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

     Following the contentious breakup from the prominent realtor, Jennifer sank into depression. She also faced serious financial problems.

     On Monday morning, January 13, 2014, Richard Berman made a horrific discovery when he stopped by the house to see his daughter and son. He found the children and his ex-wife shot to death. The medical examiner  ruled Alexander and Jacqueline Berman's deaths homicide and their mother's death as suicide.

Kyler Ramsdell-Oliva

    In 2013, police officers in Syracuse, Utah, a town of 25,000 in Davis County 25 miles north of Salt Lake City, responded to several domestic disturbance calls made from a house occupied by 32-year-old Kyler Ramsdell-Oliva, her live-in boyfriend Michael Johnson, and their two daughters, 7-year-old Isabella and Kenadee who was thirteen.

     The police were back at the house at four in the afternoon of January 13, 2014 to keep the peace while Michael loaded a U-Haul truck with his belongings. The breakup of the family and Michael's moving out did not sit well with the distraught Kyler. She reportedly told police officers that she owned a gun and would use it to kill her children and herself. (I don't know if the officers took the threat seriously enough to notify a child services agency. They obviously didn't perceive an immediate threat to the children because they did not remove them from the house that day.)

     The next day, January 14, 2014, Michael, worried abut his daughters, asked his brother and Kyler's sister to go to the house and check on the family. They entered the dwelling and found that Kyler had murdered the girls before killing herself. She had shot the children in the chest and herself in the head.

Carla Gilliland

     On July 3, 2014, police in Ellettsville, Indiana, a town of 6,000 in the south central part of the state near Bloomington, responded to a call from 15-year-old Parker Gilliland-Wampler. According to the boy, since his father had moved out of the house his mother had been behaving in such a way that caused him concern for his safety. Specifically, Carla had threatened to kill herself and take him with her.

     The police must not have taken the boy's concerns seriously because they did not immediately intercede in the matter.

     On Thursday morning, July 10, 2014, neighbors heard gunshots coming from Carla Gilliland's house. Moments later the dwelling burst into flames. Later, in the debris, firefighters found the bodies of Carla and her son. They had both been shot in the head.

     The Monroe County Coroner, a few days after the house fire, determined that Carla had murdered her son, started the blaze, then killed herself. He classified the case a murder-suicide.


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