The story of Marybeth Tinning and her nine deceased children goes down as one of the most puzzling and fatal cases of Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy in the history of the disorder. Between the years of 1967 and 1985, Tinning, a wife and mother in upstate New York, gave birth to and buried every single one of her young children, often within months.
The eldest, Barbara Ann, was born in 1967. By 1972, both she and her two siblings had passed away, starting with eight-day-old Jennifer, who is the only Tinning child believed to have died of natural causes. The rest fell like dominos, not a single one living past the age of four.
While Tinning repeatedly sought the attention of emergency room doctors, no one seemed to find her actions suspicious. They simply looked for symptoms, found none, and sent the woman and her child home. But Tinning brought them back, one by one, claiming they mysteriously died at home from "seizures," "going blue," and "cardiac arrest." By the fifth death, they were at least calling it Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Rumors began to circulate in the town of Schenectady, New York that the Tinning family suffered from "a death gene." She was allegedly asked why bring more babies into the world if they're destined to die so shortly after, to which Tinning calmly responded, "That's what women are supposed to do."
After fourteen years of deaths, Tinning was finally arrested for the murders of Barbara Ann, Joseph, Jennifer, Mary Francis, Timothy, Nathan, Michael, Jonathan, and Tami Lynne Tinning. The only murder the police could prove, however, was the smothering death of the youngest child Tami Lynne. Tinning was arrested, charged with the second degree murder of Tami Lynne, convicted and sentenced to 20 years to life. She ultimately confessed to also having smothered Nathan and Timothy, though it is widely believed she killed eight total. Tinning, who is now in her 70s and likely in prison for the rest of her life, says she has and would like to volunteering to care for sick inmates. All five of Tinning's parole attempts were denied.