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Mothers Who Kill Their Ex-Husbands to Gain Child Custody

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Mothers Who Kill Their Ex-Husbands to Gain Child Custody


October 22, 2023

The ultimate form of parental alienation occurs when a parent kills the other parent so they don’t have to share custody of their children. These homicides typically involve a mother who kills, or arranges for someone else to kill, their ex-husband. The common theme that runs through these cases is a mother who views the children as her property and is unwilling to share custody with the father.

Children may also be at risk. According to an article by Phillip Resnick on Filicide in the United States, “Evaluators in child custody disputes should be alert to situations in which a mother is so convinced that her child will be sexually abused if custody is awarded to her ex-husband that she decides that the child is better off in heaven.”

These six cases all made the news in 2023:

  1. Solicitation of Crime and “Things of Value” (Plus a Mother-of-the-Year Candidate)

On September 28, 2023, a jury convicted Vanessa Valdiglesias LaValle of two counts of criminal solicitation after she told her minor son, S.G., that he could be with her “forever” if he poisoned his father.

2. Ex-wife of slain Microsoft exec Jared Bridegan charged with his murder

On August 17, 2023, the ex-wife of murdered Microsoft executive Jaren Bridegan was charged with first-degree murder in connection with his murder. Bridegan, who was in the midst of a custody dispute with his ex-wife, was ambushed on the street after dropping-off the couple’s children at his ex-wife’s house. The mother’s new husband has also been charged in the murder.

3. Accused in Missing Man’s Grisly Killing: His Ex-Wife and Her Husband

Three years ago, Steven Kraft disappeared. In June 2023, Jamie and Nicholas Orsini were arrested and accused of carrying out an elaborate plot to kill him and dispose of his body.

4. Charlie Adelson’s trial over Dan Markel’s killing will now start in October

Florida State law professor Dan Markel, who was murdered while sitting in a car in his garage. Markel was in the midst of a custody dispute with his ex-wife, who was also a law professor. The ex-wife’s brother, a prominent dentist, has been charged with first degree murder for arranging the contract killing. The trigger-men have already been convicted.  Many people believe other members of the wife’s family, including the wife herself, were involved.

5. Dad Wins Custody of Kids, Then Ex’s Boyfriend Kills Him Moments After, VA Family Says

Alex Brown, 29, was shot outside his mother and stepfather’s home in Louisa, Virginia around 3:20 p.m. on May 9 after returning from the hearing, where he was awarded custody of his two sons, according to police and a GoFundMe page created by family members.

6. ‘Polar Opposite’ Twin Sisters Team Up To Kill One’s Ex-Husband Over Custody Dispute

When Aaron Smith learned his wife was having an affair, he filed for a divorce. A week before his murder, Aaron won full custody of his children. But when he went to pick up the two children, he spotted his ex-wife speeding away with them in a car. His ex-wife had left the state with the children. On July 23, 1997, Aaron was found dead from a gunshot wound outside his home. Aaron was shot in the back as he ran for safety.

A Google search on the words father, kills, ex-wife, custody dispute, and 2023 turns up only a single case in Texas.