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August 1967

The Child Slayer: A 25-Year Survey of Homicides Involving Preadolescent Victims

Author Affiliations

From the Lafayette Clinic, Detroit.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(2):211-213. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730260083012

THE SLAYING of an infant or Preadolescent child is a crime with many aspects peculiar to itself. Motive, method, and identity of assailant find no parallel among crimes involving adult victims. Problems unique to the child slayer are encountered in his detection and prosecution. In many instances the psychiatrist becomes involved in the determination of his final disposition. This paper is a presentation of a 25-year survey of felonious homicides in a large metropolitan area in which the victims were infants or preadolescent children.

During the period from September 1940 to September 1965, the Homicide Bureau of the Detroit Police Department investigated 134 suspected homicides in the city of Detroit, the victims of which were preadolescent children. In these 134 cases, 71 defendants were found guilty of felonious homicide (murder in the first or second degree, or manslaughter in the first

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