Marie Noe’s babies

In the 60s, a Philadelphia family became famous for losing all 10 of their children almost immediately after the babies came home from the hospital. I was surprised by the end of the story, maybe because of how it was written or because I am naive. In any case, this one takes a long time to get through, and it’s not easy. The author turned over their investigation notes to the police who reopened their case. See here conclusion.

The Noe files are remarkably rich, with personal details going back over 50 years. The material is often excruciatingly personal, including many facts the Noes could not possibly know themselves. What their relatives, friends and neighbors really thought about them. What their doctors really thought about them. There are also autopsy reports on most of the children, but they raise more questions than they answer. The early ones carry definitive causes of death that any competent pediatric pathologist would now consider unlikely, if not impossible. Most of the later autopsies simply list the cause of death as “undetermined.” But as Dapena points out, “When an adult suffocates a baby by doing this” — putting her hand over her own mouth to demonstrate — “the autopsy shows nothing, zero.”

Marie Noe’s babies

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