Thursday, September 22, 2011

Child Expert, Martha Kalwaic, Beats Her Baby Boy to Death – 1949


FULL TEXT: Hazeldon, Pa. – A socially prominent church choir singer was charged today with slaying her 15-month-old son after admitting she repeatedly slapped and bumped the baby’s head against the floor to cure him of “Freudian jealousy” of his 2 ½-year-old sister.

Mrs. Martha Woodson Kalwaic, 26, a university-trained child psychologist, was transferred without bail in the Luzerne County Women’s Detention Home at Wilkes-Barre after being arraigned on a general charge of murder.

The child, Henry jr., died yesterday in Hazledon Hospital. Police said he had been beaten about the abdomen, that his lips were discolored from blows on the mouth and that his head was battered from the banging on the floor.

The attractive Mrs. Kalwaic, who is expecting another baby in about two months, broke down in tears twice while she told Police Chief Steve Havrilla of the events leading to her son's death.

The soft-spoken daughter of a Richmond, Va., judge, told Havrilla that she had suspected the baby was indulging in temper trantrums to annoy his sister.

~ Cared More For Sister ~

Mrs. Kalwaic, a graduate in psychology from William and Mary College, said she believed the boy felt she cared more for his sister Karen than she did for him. She was quoted as saying she decided to beat this “Freudian jealousy” out of the boy.

Havrilla said Mrs. Kalwaic, a choir singer at St. Peter's Church, told him she had planned to send the boy to her parents' home in Richmond, but meanwhile had been bumping his head on the flood “for some time.”

The case was called to the attention of authorities when Dr. James V. Kennedy, a child specialist who had gone to the Kalwaic home to treat the boy, ordered him taken to the hospital where he died.

Mrs. Kalwaic’s husband. Dr. Henry Kalwaic, 30, is a prominent local dentist and is active in community affairs. The couple came here two years ago from Philadelphia where Kalwaic’s mother is vice-president of the Union of Polish Women of America.

[“Mother Kills Baby by Banging Head on Floor,” syndicated (UP), May 18, 1949, p. 1]

***

PHOTO CAPTION: Mrs. Martha Woodson Kalwaic, former Virginia society girl and child psychology student, shown leaving Wilkes-Barre, Pa., courtroom with Deputy Sheriff James McCullough, was in the parole custody of her brother, a Virginia State Police official. A jury freed her of charges in fatal beating of her 15-month-old son. Judge Frank L. Pinola said she was not being discharged unconditionally but would hare to undergo treatment by physicians in Richmond, Va., and submit reports to him.

[“Paroled After Fatal Beating,” syndicated (AP), The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Md.), Oct. 12, 1949, p. 4]

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