For years, books like Cinderella and Snow White have portrayed stepmothers as evil, jealous, and unhinged.
They marry into the family then suddenly, go from sweet and warm to wicked and malicious. Well, there are some real-life stepmothers who are much worse than the ones you’ve read about in story books.
The crimes they’ve committed against innocent children are unspeakable — heinous, violent and shocking. The details of these crimes involve torture, food deprivation, rape and more. The brutal acts of violence incurred was so bad, you can only label these stepmothers as pure evil.
All charged, these women are now remanded in custody and paying the price for the atrocities they committed.
- Murdered by Stepmother Heather Jones
- Victim: 7 year old Adrian Jones
Heather Jones was charged with first-degree murder and child abuse and participated in the mistreatment and eventual death of seven-year-old Adrian Jones. Together, Heather and her husband, Michael A. Jones inflicted horrific acts of torture against little Adrian leaving headlines across the country which read, ‘Death of Unbearable Suffering’.
Adrian died sometime between the 18th of September and the 4th of October 2016. In an unrelated crime, Michael Jones was being investigated for aggravated battery and assault. Upon arriving at Michael’s 15-acre property, it was found that Adrian hadn’t been seen at the residence for months.
As the police investigated the child’s whereabouts, they found countless videos and photographs of both Michael and Heather documenting their abuse against Adrian. The little boy was starved of food, made to stand in the home’s dirty pool neck deep for hours on end, beaten and confined.
Adrian was eventually starved to death. Michael and Heather fed his body to their pigs in an attempt to cover up the murder. The police investigators found the child’s emaciated body in the barn, which ultimately led to the couple being charged. Heather Jones is serving her life sentence in a Topeka prison in the US.
- Murdered by Stepmother, Elisa Baker
- Victim: 10 year old Zahra Baker
Elisa Baker was charged with second-degree murder and was a disgraceful and mentally disturbed woman. Claims of Elisa being abusive both physically and psychologically, as well as neglecting her stepdaughter, were all documented incidents with the Department of Social Services.
Elisa killed her stepdaughter, Zahra Clare Baker in a horrendous act of dismemberment. Zahra’s actual cause of death could not be determined due to the mutilated state of her remains. Elisa used a chainsaw to cut up Zahra’s body and scattered her remains through the rugged countryside where they lived. It was confirmed by finding a part of Zahra’s vertebrae, that her spine had, in fact, been sawn off just below her head.
Little Zahra had already had a difficult life. She was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2005. The disease had left Zahra with part of her lower leg amputated and hearing aids in both ears. When she went into remission, her father moved the family to the United States where he married Elisa Baker. In this ‘Undetermined Violent Homicide’, Elisa Baker was sentenced to 18 years in prison and a further 10 years on unrelated drug charges.
- Murdered by Stepmother Heather Leavell-Keaton
- Victim: 3 year old Chase and 4 year old Natalie Deblase
Heather Leavell-Keaton was sentenced to death after killing her husband’s three-year-old son, Chase and four-year-old daughter Natalie Deblase. Heather Leavell-Keaton was apparently jealous of Natalie, especially when friends and family referred to the little girl as ‘Princess’. Heather’s resentment toward the girl was so intense she duct-taped her; put her in a suitcase and left her in a cupboard for 12 hours. It was in this tiny space the little girl choked to death.
Upon asking about his sister, Chase DeBlase was bound to a broom handle and left in the corner of the couples’ bedroom overnight. During the night, little Chase also choked to death and Heather then disposed of his body the same way in which she’d disposed of his sisters. The remains of the children were scattered throughout the woods close to where they lived.
Heather Leavell-Keaton and husband, John DeBlase have since both been sentenced to death. It didn’t, however, stop Heather from requesting she be spared punishment. Apparently, since the murders, the woman has become spiritual and believes a death sentence, regardless of the crime should never be imposed. I beg to differ Heather.
4. Child Abuse of
Abuser: Jessica Ann Cox
Victims: Her 14 and 16 year old step-sons
Jessica Ann Cox tortured both her 14 and 16-year-old stepsons. These boys did manage to escape but not before they suffered beatings with mallets and rolling pins. They were burned with cigarettes and made to strip naked and forced into icy baths as punishment. The abuse went on for five months before they managed to escape their home of terror.
The boys’ father, Kenneth Michael McIntosh, an ex-police officer testified on behalf of Jessica Cox. He stated the boys were trouble. He accused his own sons of sexually abusing other boys and killing animals in an attempt at freeing Jessica from her charges.
Justin McIntosh who was 14 at the time recounted various incidents of abuse and torture which has resulted in PTSD. Austin McIntosh, the older of the two boys, was impacted heavily by the abuse and was indicated as wearing the brunt of Jessica’s violent mistreatment of the boys. Jessica Ann Cox was sentenced to 24 years prison. She received 12 years for each of the boys she abused and isn’t eligible for parole.
- Murdered by Stepmother Misty Stoddard
Misty Stoddard was a stepmother who killed her 11 year old autistic stepdaughter Melissa Stoddard. Melissa was sent to live with her father in an attempt by her biological mother to protect her. Apparently, Melissa’s brother was sexually abusive and had been molesting her. Melissa struggled with routine and only spoke in basic sentences which prevented her from verbalising her abuse.
Misty Stoddard testified that Melissa became violent and tried restraining her on a board. In doing so, Misty stuffed Melissa’s mouth with a sock and duct-taped her mouth shut until she suffocated to death. In the court hearing, it was alleged that the board was in fact used for sexual bondage role play.
Misty was charged with aggravated child abuse and first-degree murder, to which she received a life sentence plus 30 years for the crime she committed. Melissa’s father, Kenneth Stoddard was also charged with manslaughter, aggravated battery and tampering with evidence. They are both currently serving their sentences in Florida, USA.
Victim: 6 year old Lauren Wright
Tracey Wright is serving a 15-year jail term for abusing and murdering her six-year-old stepdaughter, Lauren. In this terrible act of violence, it was proved the Department of Social Services failed this little girl. Social Services, although aware of the abuse committed against Lauren, left her with her stepmother Tracey who continued vicious mistreatment until her death on May 6, 2000.
At three, Lauren’s biological mother had left her in Turkey while holidaying. It was left up to the British Consulate to organise her return home, upon which she was listed on the Child Protection Register. When Lauren eventually went to live with her father, it was clear her fate was sealed.
Tracey Wright left Lauren in such a state, her injuries were compared to that of a motor vehicle accident victim. The little girl was malnourished and constantly beaten. What eventually led to Lauren’s death was brutal punches and/or kicks to her stomach which left her digestive system collapsed. In her final hours, it was likely Lauren was dehydrated, vomiting and in severe pain.
7. Anna Ritchie
Victim: 4 year old Austin Ritchie
Anna Ritchie is honestly something else. When I read about this woman, I was angry, heartbroken and teary. Anna has been sentenced to 18 years to life imprisonment for the murder of her four-year-old stepson Austin. This woman resented her position as the child’s primary caregiver and in turn, treated the child with absolute contempt.
In what was described as an ‘incomprehensible’ crime, Tracey Wright submerged little Austin’s body in scalding hot bath water. At 134 degrees, the little boy was held in the bath for 20 to 25 minutes. Upon removing the child from the tub, she apparently observed the skin fall from his legs and floating in the water and his little feet bleeding.
If this evil woman had taken Austin to the hospital immediately following the ordeal, he’d have had a 95% rate of survival. Instead, Anna put him to bed where he died of hypovolemic shock — basically put — a loss of blood and fluid from his tiny toddler body.
Austin Cooper Ritchie’s father called 911 the next morning to which paramedics responded finding the boy’s lifeless and badly burnt body. Robert Ritchie told the operator that the boy had gotten into a hot bath with his wife last night, but she thought he’d be fine. The sentencing was a result of Anna being charged with two counts of murder, felonious assault, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering children.
- Victim: 2 year old Lily Lynette Furneaux-Wolfenbarger
- Murdered by her Stepmother, Renee Marie King
- Date of Murder: 20th November 2010
- Sentence: Life in prison without parole
Lily Furneaux-Wolfenbarger with her mother Lauren Furneaux
Renee King is another stepmother who never deserved such a privilege. Her two-year-old stepdaughter, Lily Furneaux-Wolfenbarger was left in her care at their trailer park home. The reason for Renee murdering the little girl was because she’d apparently thrown a tantrum and soiled her pants.
Renee King had abused the Lily so violently that it was revealed the injuries to Lily’s head were consistent with having her head slammed into a door repeatedly. Renee had also raped the two-year-old with an unknown object leaving her genitals in a terribly mutilated state, with her autopsy revealing vaginal damage comparatible with a woman who had recently given birth.
Renee King murdered Lily Furneaux-Wolfenbarger on the 20th of November 2010. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Renee’s charges were murder, criminal sexual conduct and child abuse.
Jessica Mae Hardin was charged with aggravated child abuse resulting from the death of her nine-year-old stepdaughter, Savannah Hardin. Jessica Mae used the excuse in court she was afraid of her mother in-law. Jessica said her mother in-law made her fear for her own life and in turn, it ended the life of Savannah.
Apparently, a punishment being enforced by Savannah’s grandmother is what caused her death. Savannah was made to run around the family’s backyard for a period of three hours for having lied about eating candy bars. When Savannah collapsed on the ground seizing and vomiting, she was admitted to hospital. Days later, the little girl died of extreme physical exertion.
Although Jessica Mae Hardin didn’t directly murder her stepdaughter, she failed to intervene. Being responsible for Savannah’s well-being, she was a party to the abuse and enabled it leading to the child’s death. Savannah’s grandmother, Joyce Hardin Garrard, is serving a life sentence for the death. Jessica Mae Hardin is right beside her, serving a 20-year jail sentence for doing absolutely nothing to help save the girl.
Lisamarie Villasana was a violent woman who beat her five-year-old stepdaughter to death on May 7, 2015. Little Verna Tobicoe suffered serious injuries resulting from multiple blunt force impacts. Some of the injuries were a lacerated liver and intestines, burns, bites and a large skull fracture running the length of the back of the child’s head.
Lisamarie tried to cover up her crime by telling investigators the little girl slipped on Gatorade and hit the back of her head. She went on to add that during the fall, the child had soiled herself and had to be put in a bath. Lisamarie apparently heard a thump, went in to check the child finding her face up, eyes open and submerged in the water. Verna was unresponsive. Lisamarie Villasana was eventually charged with first-degree murder for savagely beating the little girl causing death.
After reading about the terrible crimes committed by stepmothers around the world, you can understand why storybooks portray them as evil. We know not all of them are like this; but these 10 women are the epitome of sickening. The acts of violence they inflicted are so heinous and shocking it makes you question your faith in humanity. It seems Cinderella didn’t have it so bad after all.