HOUSTON - The number of women committing crimes is growing and, in some cases, the women are desperate enough to kill or harm another woman for her baby.
In Texas, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, women sit behind bars accused of killing or hurting other women to take their infants.
"In some cases, they are psychotic, but these are often crimes of incredible desperation," said John Vincent, a University of Houston psychology professor.
Verna McClain remains in the Montgomery County jail held with no bond. She is charged with killing a 28-year-old mother and kidnapping her infant.
According to police, McClain said she was pregnant but suffered a miscarriage before the incident.
Sherry Duson counsels Houston women after a miscarriage and for post-partum depression. Duson said a loss can trigger a mental health episode but not usually something so extreme.
"Most people who have miscarriages don't have a psychotic reaction or they grieve it just like any human loss and it is a normal part of life," said Duson.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children statistics show 282 infants were abducted in the United States during the past three decades. In 55 of the cases, the mother or caregiver was also hurt during the abduction.
Forty-six percent of the abductions happened at health care facilities, the other half in homes and other places, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
An infant abductor profile was created by looking at the cases of women who kidnapped babies. The abductor is usually of child bearing age and often overweight. She is most likely compulsive, frequently indicates she has lost a baby, and often wants to provide a companion with a child.
In most of the cases, the abductor lived in the community where the abduction took place.
Houston therapist Samantha Rushing said women can carry a tremendous amount of stress and depression and hide it very well.
"Uncontained desperation, unattended mental illness, unattended mental health related issues could certainly cause someone to go over the edge as far as seeking something they need and going to any length to get it," said Rushing.
If someone you know is stressed mentally and emotionally, there are a few things you should watch out for:
- Isolation behavior.
- Increased agitation.
- Increased anger.
- Failing to manage emotions in a healthy way.
- Compulsive behavior you haven't seen before.
As always, if you see something, say something.
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