Mom Confesses to Killing 8-Month-Old & He May Not Have Been Her Only Victim

A Michigan woman may have gotten away with the murder of her own son -- 53 years ago. Janice Summerfield, who is 77 and lives in a nursing home, reportedly confessed to her 54-year-old daughter Paula Gastian, who is a detective, that she killed William Earl Summerfield when he was 8 months old because her "mind wasn't right" and she was unaware of what she was doing. And, even though more than five decades have passed since the incident, detectives have removed William's casket from a cemetery grave and are opening this case as a homicide. The details of this incident are even worse than you can imagine.


According to William's death certificate, he died on May 29, 1961 of anoxia, which is oxygen deprivation to the brain. Summerfield allegedly smothered her baby boy and then placed him in bed beside Phil Summerfield, his sleeping brother -- who was 4 and a half at the time.

When Phil woke up the next morning, he brought his lifeless baby brother downstairs and says his mother told him that he was dead and that it was his fault. There are just no words to explain how sad it is for a child to believe he killed his sibling and have to go through his life carrying that pain and guilt.

Gastian says she and Phil grew up in an abusive home and that Summerfield was a drug addict and their father was locked up for sexually assaulting a friend's child. She also said she doesn't want to see her mother, who recently became religious, go to prison, but that she feels like she needs to "be somewhere" for what she did.

And there's more, I'm afraid. Summerfield reportedly gave birth to twin girls in 1969 -- and both died a few months later. Their death certificates say they died of lung disease, but you can't blame Gastian for now wondering if her mother had a hand in their deaths, too.

Nothing is going to make this family whole again or bring back one -- possibly three -- victims. I feel for this woman, who sounds like she had a very difficult life. At the same time, she allegedly took away someone's life, broke up her family, and, despite her age, should face a jury if enough evidence proves that she killed her infant. It doesn't matter that this happened 53 years ago. There is no statute of limitations for murder and no law that says a 77-year-old should not face the consequences of her actions.

Do you think this woman should face a judge and jury if evidence proves she killed her baby 53 years ago?


Image via NatalieMaynor/Flickr

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