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Michele Kalina Kept Murdered Babies In Closet

By Sierra Black |

Nurse's aide Michele Kalina has been charged with murdering five of her own newborn babies.

A Pennsylvania nurse’s aide, Michele Kalina, has been arrested for murder after her husband and daughter found the bones of five newborn babies hidden in her closet.

Kalina is believed to have conceived the babies through an affair with a man who knew nothing of the pregnancies.

Resorting to murder as a means of birth control seems so unimaginably awful you’d think this case would be unique, but it’s chillingly like a recent one in France. There, another nurse’s aide, Dominique Cottrez, is alleged to have killed 8 newborn babies and buried them in her backyard.

These cases are so similar, and so awful, that it’s impossible not to wonder what connects them. There have been several cases of multiple infanticides in Europe in the past few years: a woman in Germany murdered 8 of her newborns and buried them in her parents yard; another French woman killed 3 of her own babies.

Not only is this kind of serial infanticide unthinkable to me, I’m in shock just imagining being pregnant 5, 6 or 8 times. And hiding all those pregnancies from everyone I knew and loved. And giving birth, multiple times, alone, in secret. These women must have suffered incredibly, in the process of committing these grotesque crimes.

One theory about serial infanticide points to “pregnancy denial”: a woman may refuse to acknowledge she is pregnant, and then kill her baby in a panic when she’s given birth and can no longer deny it. But to do so five or six or eight times? Surely that is a whole other level of madness.

Is there some unrecognized and blessedly rare mental illness that causes women to serially murder their own newborns?

As a psychologist commenting on the Cottrez case told MSNBC:

Even if we don’t know enough to put a label on it, I cannot imagine this occurring over and over again if this woman’s mental faculties were not impaired to some degree. Whether she is psychotic or an abuse survivor, or whatever, certain psychological factors contributed to these incidents occurring over and over again.

The Kalina case mirrors the Cottrez case to a truly frightening degree: both women were nurse’s aides, both were in their mid-40s when they were caught, both had two children they raised (though Kalina’s son died ten years ago).

What happened to these women? Were there warning signs their families could have watched for years earlier?

Our resident mental health expert, Heather, has some insights. Sadly, there’s little comfort there.

Photo: CBS/KYW

More by Sierra Black:

I Flunk Being A Girly Mama

Why I Don’t Miss Homeschooling

How Smartphones Made The Playground Fun

Stepmothers: Do You Really Love Your Husband’s Kids?

10 Ways To Squash Sibling Rivalry

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About Sierra Black

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Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Michele Kalina Kept Murdered Babies In Closet

  1. Carrie M. says:

    Um…they have heard of birth control right? and abortion? also I would think the death of Kalinas son 10 years ago should be investigated in light of what was found.as scooby doo would say Ruh roh

  2. Jamie says:

    “These women must have suffered incredibly, in the process of committing these grotesque crimes.” Who seriously cares if they suffered? Did they care about the innocent lives that suffered – no.I don’t know why there is always this look for explanations and excuses, bad childhood, illness and whatnot to make thiese terrible crimes understandable. I do not understand it nor do I ever want to.She could have had her tubes tied, taken birth control, have an abortion or give the child up as in leave it at a hospital anonymously as it is posisble now by law. To kill an innocent newborn in cold blood is evil, especially numerous times.

  3. Elaine says:

    Your empathy is inspiring. Those poor babies, and yes, this poor woman. What could have happened to make her do this? Was she just born bad or did something terrible happen to make her become a murderer like this?

  4. [...] Sierra reported earlier today, Kalina was arraigned on Monday. Her husband and daughter notified police after they found the remains of five newborn babies [...]

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