MaryBeth, a nursing assistant from Duanesburg, New York, gave birth over and over and over again, and one by one each of her babies were murdered. Back then doctors didn’t know too much about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (AKA SIDS) and they just assumed these children had a genetic disorder which was causing them all to die. In reality, Marybeth, who suffers from Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, had smothered them one by one.
In 1972, Marybeth’s father passed away. Soon after, she gave birth to her 3rd baby, Jennifer. This is believed to be the only child to pass away from natural causes; the infant contracted meningitis and died at just 8 days old. The poor baby never did get to leave the hospital.
So, the grieving mother was suddenly the center of attention, everyone who knew her went above and beyond to ensure she was okay; that’s how it all began, Marybeth enjoyed that attention wayyyyy too much. Just a couple weeks after Jennifer had been laid to rest, her 2 year old son, Joseph Jr, also passed. The doctors didn’t have any cause of death, but I’m sure that you know as well as I do that toddlers that it’s extremely rare for toddlers die of SIDS. Soon after, the only surviving Tinning child, Barbara Ann, was sick with a mysterious illness. The child was rushed to the hospital, deemed well enough to go home, but within an hour of her release she had passed away as well.
Marybeth’s husband, Joseph, was absolutely inconsolable; Joe is truly a good and decent man, a great husband, and he had wanted nothing more in life than to be a father. That being said, he had blinders on when it came to Marybeth. Joseph never dreamed his wife capable of harming their babies, and he would never accept it as truth.
Though doctors adamantly advised the couple not to bring any more children into this world as medical professionals truly believed that the Tinnings has been passing a genetical “death gene” to their children and that must’ve been what was responsible for the children’s deaths. Still, Marybeth was soon pregnant again with their 4th child. I’m sure you already know that this one didn’t live very long either; one by one Marybeth gave birth, and soon after the baby passed away. Within a year and a half, the first 4 Tinning children were deceased.
In November of 1973, 2 week old Timothy has perished. An inconsolable Marybeth rushed him to the hospital where she’s claimed that she had found her infant blue in his crib. This was always how it happened: Marybeth had always been the one to find the dead child. She would rush to the hospital where medical staff would work tirelessly to save the infant as Marybeth waited feigning to have been an emotional wreck. Mary Beth was smart, she took her murdered babies to different hospitals with different doctors; she played the grief stricken mother rather well, and those around her bought her act hook, line, and sinker.
Finally Joe and Marybeth adopted a child, a beautiful baby boy by the name of Michael. Everyone believed this child must survive as he did not have the same genetics which were believed to be killing the Tinning children. Sadly, Mary Beth still needed that attention she craved, so this time she overdosed her husband, Joe, with narcotics! When her husband was close to death, our killer had a change of heart; Marybeth told her brother in law what she’d done, and Joe was taken to the ER where his stomach was pumped. Since Police believe Joe’s wife had poisoned him, they questioned the victim; Joe never would accept that Mary Beth was responsible, so there was nothing investigators could do.
Husband Joe survived, but soon their 2 & 1/2 year old adopted child, Michael, was sick. Mary Beth made a doctor’s appointment for Michael; when she showed up for said appointment, the mother was carrying a dead baby with her. He had already been dead for approximately 2 hours! The official cause of death was pneumonia; nothing was done.
Finally there was the death of 4 month old Tami Lynne. After this baby passed, police got an anonymous tip that it was murder. Autopsy finally found that a Tinning child had had suffocated with a soft object such I as a pillow.
Marybeth was brought in for questioning, and she admitted to murder – not all of the murders, mind you, just 3: Nathan, Timothy, and Tami Lynne. The “mother” said, “I smothered them each with a pillow because I’m not a good mother. I’m not a good mother because of the other children.” and “I just wanted them to stop crying.”. She staunchly denies having caused the deaths of Barbara Ann, Joseph, Jennifer, Mary Francis, Michael, and Jonathan.
At the 2011 parole board hearing on January 26th of 2011, Mary Beth stated: “After the deaths of my other children, I just lost it. I became a damaged worthless piece of person and when my daughter was young, in my state of mind at that time, I just believed that she was going to die also. So I just did it.”. In 1987 Marybeth, who was convicted of murdering 9 of her own children, was sentenced to 20 years to life. In 2018 this serial killer was granted parole; her husband, Joe, has stuck by her all this time. I wonder how much longer he has to live?