Wikipedia: Marie Noe (born August 23, 1928) is an American woman who was convicted in June 1999 of murdering eight of her children. Between 1949 and 1968, eight of the ten Noe children died of mysterious causes which were then attributed to sudden infant death syndrome. All eight children were healthy at birth and were developing normally. Two other children died of natural causes. Noe pleaded guilty in June 1999 to eight counts of second-degree murder, and was sentenced to 20 years' probation and psychiatric examination.
Noe was born Marie Lyddy on August 23, 1928 in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia to Ella (née Ackler) and James Lyddy. Marie was one of several children born of her parents' troubled marriage. Marie contracted scarlet fever at age five, which she later credited as the cause of learning difficulties. She dropped out of school as a young teenager to work and help care for a niece, born to one of her older sisters when Marie was 12 and raised as Marie's sister.
Marie Lyddy and Arthur Allen Noe (1921–2009) met at a private club in the West Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. On June 1, 1948, after a brief courtship, the couple eloped. The couple proceeded to have ten children, all of whom died between the ages of five days and 14 months.
During the Caesarean birth of her last child, Noe suffered a uterine rupture and underwent a hysterectomy.
In 1963 Life magazine published a sympathetic article on Noe, written by Mary Cadwalader and using the pseudonyms Martha and Andrew Moore for Noe and her husband, after six of Noe's children had died.
~ Reinvestigation and charges ~
Interest in the case was renewed after the publication of the 1997 book The Death of Innocents, about New York woman Waneta Hoyt, and an investigative article (Cradle to Grave by Stephen Fried) that appeared in the April 1998 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Stephen Fried turned over his investigation results to the Philadelphia Police Department in March 1998. Upon questioning by police after receiving the material, Noe admitted to suffocating four of her children. She stated that she could not remember what happened to the other four children who died under similar circumstances. She was charged with first-degree murder in August 1998.
A plea agreement was reached in which Noe admitted to eight counts of second-degree murder and she was sentenced in June 1999 to 20 years of probation with the first five years under house arrest.
As a condition of her plea agreement, Noe agreed to psychiatric study in hopes of identifying what caused her to kill her children. In September 2001, a study was filed with the court that stated Noe was suffering from mixed-personality disorder.
~ Books featuring Marie Noe ~
The book Cradle of Death by John Glatt is about Marie Noe and her children's murders. Many other books feature Marie Noe alongside other criminals, such as Engendered Death: Pennsylvania Women Who Kill by Joseph W. Laythe and The Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Pennsylvania by Ron Franscell and Karen B. Valentine. The book The Life You Longed For: A Novel, by Maribeth Fischer, which is fictional, also mentions Noe's murders.
FULL TEXT: Philadelphia – Mrs. Marie Noe, 38, has had eight children, none of whom lived to be a year old.
Her doctor wants to know why.
"There has to be a cause and we're still trying to find it," said Dr. Columbus R. Gangemi, the medical internist who has been attending Mrs. Noe.
He spoke Saturday after it was disclosed that the woman's eighth child, Theresa, delivered by Caesarean section June 28 lived only six hours.
Marie and her husband, Arthur, buried their seventh child, Mary Lee, last Jan. 8. She lived longer than any of the children a little more than six months.
"I guess we weren't meant to have babies," the mother was quoted as saying after being told of the eighth death. She was des- accepting the death stoically.
"If we could only find the answer, Dr. Gangemi said we'd have a story that would benefit the profession and people who been losing children."
Little Theresa weighed over five a half pounds and was not delivery took place about weeks before the mother's two weeks before the mother’s due date. The baby was delivered by Dr. Salvatore Cucinotta.
Following the infant's death an autopsy showed signs of an abnormality of the blood. This, Dr. Gangemi said was listed as the possible cause of death. The other children showed no signs of such an abnormality. Of the others, one was still born; three died in the first month of life, and one lived five months. Autopsies have failed to show a definite cause for the deaths of the infants.
[“Had 8 Children, None of Whom Lived To Be Year Old; Doctors Seek Answer,” Hazleton Standard-Speaker (Pa.), Aug. 19, 1963, p. 6]
FULL TEXT: Philadelphia – A 70-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to smothering eight of her young children decades ago but won't go to jail so researchers can learn more about why new mothers Sometimes kill newborns.
Marie Noe admitted killing the children between 1949 and 1968 and was sentenced to 20 years' probation, the first five of which must be served under home confinement Noe must undergo mental health treatment sessions with a psychiatrist to find the cause of her re- Marie Noe says peated infanticide.
“We needed to get this matter finalized,” said District Attorney Lynne Abraham. "Is it perfect? We don't always get a perfect outcome."
At the sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Charles F. Gallagher said: “Its important for the medical community and the legal community
The light sentence Monday also had to do with "the unusual circumstances of the case and the age of the case." Also Noe is the caretaker of her ailing husband, Arthur, 77, Deputy District Attorney
“This is not one of those situations where we have a heart of a killer,” said defense attorney David Rudenstein.
Before her arrest Marie Noe, had confessed in March to police that she suffocated four of the infants said she did not remember the other four deaths. During a meeting with a state psychiatrist in November, she confessed to killing the other four children, Gallagher said.
On Monday, Marie Noe, walking with a cane and with an electronic monitoring bracelet around her waist, answered the judge with deliberate “yes” and “no” answers but did not explain why she killed her children.
Her husband sat in the courtroom looking flushed and shaking his head as the names of the eight babies were read. He was not charged in the case and had maintained her innocence. The couple refused to speak with reporters after Monday’s hearing.
“I cannot speak for him, but Arthur Noe sat in court as she admitted killing those eight babies,” Rudenstein said. “Does he believe that she admitted that she suffgocated these babies? I trust that he does. Does he believe that his wife’s some evil killer? I’m sure he does not.”
Gallagher said numerous medical officials indicated that a medical study of Marie Noe could be valuable because so little known about why women kill their babies.
“We want to know what possessed her to do it,” Gallagher said. “When she made her admissions, she indicated she did it, but she didn’t say why she did it. She said she doesn’t know why.”
Rudenstein said it was important for Marie Noe as well.
“Before she passes onto the next world, she wants to understand what has occurred,” he said.
[Jennifer Brown, “Mother admits killing eight children,” The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.), Jun. 29, 1999, p. 1]
FULL TEXT: Killing the children was easy, Marie Noe said.
Here's how she killed 31-day-old Richard Alan: "He couldn't tell me what was bothering him. He just kept crying. I put him on his belly instead of his back in his bassinet, and there was a pillow under his face. Then I took my hand and pressed his face down into the pillow until he stopped moving."
Five-month-old Elizabeth Mary fought back briefly.
"Elizabeth was a lot stronger than Richard was, and she was fighting when the pillow was over her face. I held the pillow over her face until she stopped moving."
And so it went, one after another, as Marie Noe killed eight of her children between 1949 and 1968. They ranged in age from 13 days to 14 months.
After 30 years of denials, in which she lied not only to authorities but to her husband, Noe has admitted killing the children.
Two others died: one at birth and one apparently of natural causes six hours after birth.
In exchange for pleading guilty to eight counts of second-degree murder yesterday to Common Pleas Judge William J. Mazzola, the silver-haired woman, now 70, was sentenced to 20 years' probation.
She is to remain under electronically monitored house arrest for the first five years and must undergo psychiatric treatment to determine why she killed her children.
Noe had said in a police statement, "All I can figure is that I'm ungodly sick. I never had the money to get help, and I didn't know where to go for help anyway."
Dressed in white slacks, Noe said she wanted to "confront" her responsibility for the deaths of her children and to discover "the causes of my repeated acts of infanticide. . .killing my children."
"They all seemed to go very fast. . .," Noe told one investigator, said Deputy District Attorney Charles Gallagher, chief of the homicide division.
Watching from the courtroom, his head slumped in his hands, was her 78-year-old husband, Arthur Noe, who had stood by his wife over the last three decades as police tried to make a case against her.
When approached by a reporter, he said, "Don't think I'm mean, but I've had enough."
Defense attorney David S. Rudenstein said Mrs. Noe is now willing to accept responsibility for the killings, but still can't understand her actions.
"She wishes to cooperate with medical science to explore why this type of tragedy occurs," said Rudenstein. "She would like to help doctors assist other mothers who may be prone to infanticide."
[Dave Racher, “Killings Were Easy 70-year-old Tells How She Smothered 8 Babies Over Years,” Philadelphia Daily News (Pa.), Jun. 29, 1999]
Aug. 23, 1928 – Mary Lyddy born, Philadelphia, Pa.
Jun. 1, 1948 – after a brief courtship, the couple eloped.
Apr. 7, 1949 – Richard Allan Noe dies (born Mar. 7, 1949).
Feb. 17, 1951 – Elizabeth Mary Noe dies (born Sep. 8, 1950).
May 3, 1952 – Jacqueline Noe (born Apr. 23, 1952).
Apr. 28, 1955 – Arthur Noe Jr. (born Apr. 23, 1955).
Mar. 20, 1958 – Constance Noe (born Feb. 24, 1958).
Aug. 24, 1959 – Letitia Noe (stillborn, cause of death was umbilical cord knot).
Jan. 4, 1963 – Mary Lee Noe (born Jun. 19, 1962).
Jun. 1963 – Theresa Noe (died in hospital; cause of death was "congenital hemorrhagic diathesis")
Feb. 24, 1966 – Catherine Ellen Noe (born Dec. 3, 1964).
Jan. 2, 1968 – Arthur Joseph Noe (born Jul. 28, 1967).
Mar. 25, 1998 – confessed killings.
Jun. 28, 1999 – pleaded guilty. sentenced to 20 years of probation with the first five years under house arrest.
For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.
MORE cases: SIDS & Female Serial Killers