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Mom, Boyfriend Charged With Drowning Kids

Started by Brent, Dec 10, 2003, 04:23:04 PM

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It's fascinating how the biological father isn't even mentioned. Not a word about him.

Mom, Boyfriend Charged With Drowning Kids

By JIM PAUL, Associated Press Writer

CLINTON, Ill. - A woman and her boyfriend were charged with first-degree murder Wednesday in the deaths of her three children, who drowned when their car plunged into a lake in September in what initially looked like a tragic accident.

[img src=http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20031210/capt.cx10112101726.submerged_car_cx101.jpg]
[table bgcolor=#ffffdd width=500][tr][td]
Three children that drowned on Sept. 2, 2003, in Clinton Lake in Clinton, Ill., after the car they were in slid down a boat ramp and became submerged, are shown in this family photo released, Friday, Sept. 5, 2003. From left are, Austin Brown, 3; half-sister, 23-month-old Kyleigh Hamm; and Christopher Hamm, 6. The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department is expected to announce at a news conference Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003, that arrests have been made in the case.[/td][/tr][/table]
Sheriff Roger Massey would not say how the car went down a boat ramp into Clinton Lake, killing the 6-year-old, 3-year-old and toddler inside.

Massey said authorities know what the motive was, but he would not provide details other than to say it did not involve life-insurance money.

Maurice Lagrone Jr., 28, and Amanda Hamm, 27, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder for each death, Massey said. They were arrested separately Tuesday and were being held on $5 million bail.

Deputies arrived at the lake in central Illinois on Sept. 2 within five minutes of receiving a 911 call from Hamm saying her children were in the water. The two suspects were on the lakeshore when rescuers arrived and Hamm was crying hysterically, according to one eyewitness.

Neither the couple nor investigators have ever offered a public explanation for why the couple was at the lake. Authorities have said the suspects were not launching or removing a boat, and it was not clear if they were in the car when it went in the water. The couple never spoke to reporters or returned messages for comment.

The sheriff said the car went in front first and the rear end was in 4 1/2 feet of water when rescuers arrived.

Immediately after the deaths, Massey said they were being investigated as an accident. Within a day, he started calling them "the incident."

Lagrone initially was charged with driving under the influence. That charge was dropped last month, and Massey said Wednesday that investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor.

Asked how authorities decided the deaths were not an accident, Massey said investigators several times sent the car back into the water to see how it would sink.

"Our purpose is to disprove an accident," Massey said.

The siblings were Christopher Hamm, 6, Austin Brown, 3, and Kyleigh Hamm, 23 months. Lagrone was not the father of any of the children.

The case drew parallels to the 1994 case of Susan Smith, who was convicted of drowning her children in a South Carolina lake. Smith at first alleged that a man carjacked her and took her two young sons. She later admitted rolling her car into a lake with the children strapped into car seats.

Massey said he did not believe either Hamm or Lagrone had an attorney yet. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance Thursday morning.

Clinton, a town of 7,500, is about 140 miles southwest of Chicago.


The rack is FAR too good for those "parents."

I echo your sentiments SPG ...


They should be SHOT...Just my opinion though...

Indigo Mom

I can't be sure, but the oldest has the last name of Hamm, the middle has the last name of Brown, and the youngest has the last name of Hamm....methinks there are 3 fathers.

-----Deputies arrived at the lake in central Illinois on Sept. 2 within five minutes of receiving a 911 call from Hamm saying her children were in the water. -----

I dunno about you, but no way I'd be on the fricken phone as my children were in a fricken car in the fricken water.  I'd be screamin for someone else to call 911, but MY butt would be IN the water getting my kids.  No ifs, no ands, and no buts...I'd be in there with them.  Cars don't go under THAT fast, do they?  Just like in the Susan Smith case, these freaks had time to get those kids out.

What a terrible loss!  I'll never understand how a "parent" could do this to their own children.  We go into this whole parenthood thing with the understanding that we would DIE for our kids.  Jeez...how sad.  

Indigo Mom

Don't shoot them.

They should put that woman in a car, dump it in the lake, then pull her up right before she dies just so she can see exactly what she put those children through.  (course, they shouldn't tell her she's going to live) Then...make her live the rest of her life in a cell with the pictures of the kids plastered on every square inch of wall.


You know, right after I wrote that, I told my SO what had happened and he said the EXACT same thing as you...Good minds think alike...


I get absolutely SICK to my stomach when I think of how those kids died...Ok, I have tears in my eyes, it's just so awful...How do you do this?  I mean, how sick are you to do this to your flesh and blood?  Innocent babies, that's all they were...Imagine their cries for help...

Kitty C.

'Massey said authorities know what the motive was, but he would not provide details other than to say it did not involve life-insurance money. '

The only other motive it might be is that there is/was a custody dispute.  Sounds reasonable:  Typical PBFH, doesn't want the kids/responsibility but CERTAINLY doesn't want the father to have custody, because she'd miss out on all the wonderful CS money every month.  Maybe the dad(s) were getting TOO close to obtaining custody, tho. Typical dog in a manger, if she couldn't have them, then by God, the dads wouldn't get them either.  All speculation, tho.  Can't wait to hear what the REAL motive is.

As for the car going under so quickly, there are ways to do it.  Which is why the investigators kept trying to replicate it.  They're testing to see how long it really takes.  If there was NO one around, who knows how long they waited until they called 911????  But if they left the windows open, it would sink a LOT faster.

There is a SPECIAL place in hell waiting for the both of them.........
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


Mother, boyfriend accused of drowning children in lake

Three children murdered.

Neither Hamm nor LaGrone still lives in Clinton. Lagrone was arrested at a motel near the St. Louis airport where he was living.  Hamm was taken into custody at a mission in Bloomington, each on charges of first-degree murder.

Despite the arrests, authorities continued to withhold details of the case.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office, Massey cited a state Supreme Court ruling that he said does not allow him to release information that might prevent the defendants from getting a fair trial.

He also suggested that the case was too complicated for people to understand anyway.

"Believe me, you wouldn't understand it," Massey said. "You'll have to see the whole case to understand it."

Massey said Hamm and Lagrone will face nine counts of first-degree murder with aggravated circumstances. The aggravated circumstances allow a prosecutor to seek life in prison or the death penalty.

Paraphrasing the charges, Massey explained that the aggravated circumstances were presented partly because "the acts of the defendants that caused the deaths of these children was exceptionally brutal and heinous, indicative of wanton cruelty." Other reasons were the number of victims and their ages.

"Most people are going to be appalled when they see this case in court," the sheriff said.

Special prosecutor Roger Simpson, a private attorney from Monticello, will lead the prosecution to avoid a possible conflict of interest because Hamm's mother works in the DeWitt County state's attorney's office.

"There's some significant evidence that we were coming up with in the last 60 days," he said, adding that the evidence leading to the charges came from "hundreds" of interviews, vehicle testing and medical testing, including autopsy results.

Massey did acknowledge that investigators suspected foul play from the start.

"I think we realized early on it wasn't an accident," he said.

However, Hamm's former neighbors in Clinton have staunchly defended her and Lagrone, saying it's "ridiculous" to think they would intentionally hurt the children.

Massey declined to discuss why the couple was at the boat ramp but had no boat.