Nine Tiny Corpses: The Terrifying Case of Upstate NY Murderer Marybeth Tinnings
You know when you’re a kid and too young to understand what the whispers are about, but know that it must be serious? I vividly remember the whispers of the woman suspected of being a serial child killer.
As a child growing up in the Schenectady area in the 1980s, I vividly remember family members speaking in hushed tones and saying things such as, “how could anyone do something like that?” And, “as a mother, I can’t even wrap my head around this horror- do you think she’s guilty?”
The situation which they were discussing was the case of Marybeth Tinning, the Upstate New York woman suspected of being a serial child killer – of her very own children.
From 1975 until 1985, Tinning either gave birth to or adopted a total of nine babies, both boys, and girls. Bizarrely, none of those children birthed or adopted, lived to see their sixth birthday. As a matter of fact, most of them died only a few months after they were born.
Tinning was well known at the local healthcare providers where she would, in a panic, bring the dying babies and children in and baby after baby, child after child, the medical professionals would slap the label of death due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome on the deceased little ones.
Let’s pause here for a second though, shall we? At what point does someone, anyone in the field of medicine look at medical records, look at the face of a mother who has popped in with a dying child time after time over the course of fourteen years, and NOT say, “something isn’t right here?” And yet, they didn't. It happened EIGHT times. The likelihood of the same death happening to eight children, both biological and adopted, in a single household and just being by chance is pretty unlikely.
It was only after Tinning took her EIGHTH dying child to the hospital that the hospital called authorities who began an investigation. According to a special which aired on WRGB News, pediatricians passed Tinning around because nobody wanted to deal with her. It was only at the last death when Tinning was offered a SIDS monitor and declined it that any lightbulbs went off that maybe something wasn't right.
Sickly, investigators claim that after Tinning’s third child, a baby girl named Jennifer, died of natural causes just days after her birth, and sympathy was doled out to Tinning something sparked inside of her and she had a need for attention. This is when the rest of her children began to die.
Oh, but that’s not all. After she was arrested, Tinning admitted to murdering the last baby she took to the hospital, three-month-old Tami Lynne, and she ALSO confessed that she’d been slowly poisoning her husband.
Open and closed case, right? The woman was definitely guilty of murder in the deaths of her eight (remember, Jennifer, died of natural causes) children, right? Not so fast. Even though the evidence was stacked sky-high against Tinning, she was only charged with the death of baby Tami Lynne.
Locked up for 31 years, Tinning was released on August 21, 2018, at the age of 75.
Equally unbelievable is that Tinning's husband (remember- she was slowly poisoning him) stood by her through all of it. The trial, the conviction, and the 31 years she spent in prison. He spoke to the Schenectady Gazette in 2018, saying he was “very glad that it will soon be all over with.”