A few days before Christmas in 1985, a woman named Marybeth Tinning smothered her four-month-old baby, Tami Lynne, to death.
This tragedy was horrible enough, but police found out during their investigation that all eight of Tinning’s other children had died very young before Tami Lynne’s murder — and many people believe she was responsible for most of their deaths as well.
Tinning grew up in Schenectady County, New York, and claims that her father abused her during her childhood, including beating her and locking her in a closet. She eventually married Joe Tinning in 1965 and had two children before her father died from a heart attack in 1971. Her children started dying just a couple of months later.
Her third child, Jennifer, was the first to pass away.
Born in December 1971, Jennifer died at just eight days old from hemorrhagic meningitis and multiple brain abscesses. Hers was the only death that didn’t seem suspicious. Just 17 days later, Tinning’s second child, two-year-old Joseph Jr., was thought to have died from cardiopulmonary arrest after she rushed him to an emergency room.
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A few weeks after Joseph Jr.’s death, Tinning’s first daughter, four-year-old Barbara, was taken to the hospital as well and died after falling into a coma. Her death was attributed to Reye syndrome.
Tinning had another son, Timothy, on Thanksgiving Day in 1973, but he
passed away less than a month later. Doctors thought he had sudden
infant death syndrome. Her fifth child, Nathan, died in 1975 (the same year he was born) while in a car with her.
In 1978, the Tinnings adopted a baby and named him Michael. They had their sixth child, Mary Frances, a couple of months later. She was taken off of life support in 1979 after going into full cardiac arrest and sustaining irreversible brain damage. Tinning gave birth to yet another child, Jonathan, but he died in 1980 after being kept on life support for weeks. The next year, Michael died after Tinning couldn’t wake him up. He had fallen down the stairs a month earlier.
Her ninth and final child, Tami Lynne, was born in August 1985 and died in December after being smothered by her own mom.
Tinning and her husband were taken to the Schenectady Police Department and questioned, where Tinning signed a document confessing to the murders of Tami Lynne, Timothy, and Nathan. She was arrested and charged with killing Tami Lynne.