Sunday, March 20, 2011

Waneta Hoyt

Waneta Hoyt was born on May, 13 1946 in Richford, New York. Waneta dropped out of high school when she was in the tenth grade to marry Tim Hoyt. Together, they had their first son Eric. Sadly, Eric only lived for a little over one hundred days. Over the next few years every child that the couple had, died soon after birth. Together, the couple had four other chlidren (James, Julie, Mary, and Noah) and none lived past the age of twenty-eight months. For the next twenty years, it was belived that each of these children died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, the truth was soon to be discovered ("Waneta hoyt,").

It was deemed by many that the deaths of Waneta's children was due to "unrelated ailments" (Busch, 1997). The couple was then introduced to Dr. Alfred Steinschneider, a pediatric doctor. Dr. Steinschneider determined that each of the infants' deaths were genetically linked. He declared the infants' death was due to a sleep apnea disorder that can occur in perfecdtly healthy babies, causing them to die suddenly in their sleep. The downfall of this disorder was that doctors did not know why this occured in children (Busch, 1997).

Several years after the deaths of their biological children, the couple adopted a boy, Jay, who survived. When Jay was seventeen (1994), Waneta was arrested for the murder of her five biological children. A discovery was made about the deaths of Waneta's last two children, Mary and Noah. These two children were part of Dr. Steinschneider's research about SIDS and sleep apnea. However, as the doctor's research carried on the links just didn't seem to match up and more and more people began to accuse Waneta of murdering her babies. These suspicions rose in 1992 and on March 23, 1994, Waneta confessed to murdering her five children ("Waneta hoyt,").

Waneta was sentenced to seventy-five years in prison for "depraved indifference to human life" (Sanz, 1995). It was discovered that Waneta suffocated each of the five children with pillows, towels, and even her shoulder. Waneta claimed that she killed all her children because she did not want them to cry. The prosecuting attourney gave the argument that each of these five children would not have the chance to grow up, get jobs, and live their life, because their mother could not stand their crying. It was because of this angle that the jury accused Waneta (Sanz, 1995).

Waneta ended up dying in prison of pancreatic cancer in August of 1998, only a few years into her prison sentence (Busch, 1997).


Busch, Frederick. (1997, September 14). A mother on trial.
Retrieved from:

Sanz, Cynthia. (1995, October 9). A mother's fatal embrace.
Retrieved from:,,20101784,00.html.

Waneta hoyt. Retrieved from:


  1. The last daughter's name wasn't Mary but Molly. Molly Hoyt.

  2. Waneta dropped out of high school when she was in her senior year, not her 10th grade year of high school.