Offspring-Perpetrated Familicide: Examining Family Homicides Involving Parents as Victims

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Offspring-Perpetrated Familicide: Examining Family Homicides Involving Parents as Victims

Category: Domestic Violence, Homicide|Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (full text)|Author: A Fegadel, K Heide|Year: 2017

The majority of studies examining familicide involve the male head of the family killing his wife or intimate partner and children. Little research exists on familicide cases involving children killing one or both parents plus other family members (siblings, grandparents, etc.). This study used the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which currently contains arrest data for about 25% of the U.S. population, to examine familicide incidents perpetrated by adult and juvenile offenders over the 20-year period from 1991 to 2010. Fourteen cases of familicide involving two different family victim types were identified. None of these cases involved multiple offenders. Frequencies reported include victim, offender, and incident characteristics. The typical familicide offender was a White male approximately 26 years of age. Firearms predominated as murder weapons in these incidents; however, when a biological mother was one of the victims, offenders used more diverse methods. Only one case of familicide involved a female offender. Newspapers were searched to supplement available case information. Findings from this study were similar to cases identified by Liem and Reichelmann as “extended parricide cases” in their familicide study using Supplementary Homicide Report data. Study limitations, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.

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