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Woman suspicious that SIL lied about SIDS, 'She did this to her kids. I'm convinced.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATE.

Woman suspicious that SIL lied about SIDS, 'She did this to her kids. I'm convinced.' AITA? MAJOR UPDATE.


Trigger warning. When this woman is convinced that her SIL might not be innocent when it comes to the tragic fate of her kids, she asks Reddit:

"I believe my SIL was 'involved' in her kid's passing. I don't want to be right, but I think I am. AITA?"

My SIL (22) has birthed 4 children and miscarried one. Her first child she had at 16. Now given she was very young and inexperienced, she made a lot of mistakes. But she made one major mistake.

By that I mean, she swaddled her 1 month old newborn, placed them in a baby swing, propped up a full bottle of milk to them and went to sleep.... The baby choked and died. The death certificate states SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as the cause of death. She was ordered to counseling for a year and nothing else.

Years later, SIL had her second child at 19. At that time she was living with her mother. Her mother did most of the work for her, feeding, washing, general taking care of this child for almost a year until SIL moved out with her then bf. This child is still alive today because of that help (which I will explain).

When SIL was 20 she had another child. Again, she made a lot of mistakes because she was on her own without any help. Her bf worked 12 hr shifts and would sleep when he was home, which left her to deal with a now 2 year old and a newborn.

The newborn contracted a cold and got very sick, breathing hard, coughing, the works. She, again, swaddled the baby and placed it away from her and went to sleep.

She woke up 8 hrs later and the baby was dead. They had rolled over in their sleep, being swaddled and sick, could not roll back over and suffocated. Again the death certificate states that SIDS was the cause of death.

Now we cannot prove she purposely did this to her children. But each time she would receive money, attention, pretty much anything she asked for. She got pregnant again when she was 21 and had a miscarriage. She said she fell and the stress she was dealing with caused it. She again received a ton of attention for it.

She has since had another child. They have not yet reached one years old and we are very stressed and worried about the outcome for this child. Her now 3 year old is thriving with help from her now husband. How he cant see through her craziness is beyond me. I think she might be diabolical.

Before we give you OP's major update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

rosethorn writes:

That’s a very dangerous accusation to make and certainly seems unfounded. If CPS hasn’t been alerted and the medical examiner dubs it as SIDS with no belief that abuse/neglect went on, believe them. They are the professionals.

You don’t know that the baby choked and died, that’s not what the examiners say. And honestly, with a husband who doesn’t help, she may very well have accidentally overslept with the second one.

Newborns don’t typically roll in their sleep, she may not have expected it. Let’s not shit on a mom who has had 2 babies tragically pass away and make baseless assumptions/accusations against her.

eyemaltisl writes:

I work in forensic medicine. SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion. There is an international protocol that all "first world" countries subscribe to for the post mortem investigation of SIDS. To have an autopsy report state SIDS means all other testing was inconclusive, and paediateic testing is extensive.

There is also an international format for the writing of cause of death and if evidence of choking on milk was present it must be listed as such: if choking led to pulmonary-cardiac distress and then death, choking would be listed as the primary 1a cause of death.

Is it illegal to swaddle an infant and put them to sleep? Do some tired mothers fall asleep during feeding to discover the worst? Is it realistic a mother would swaddle to murder, knowing very well that many infants are put to sleep this way, often at doctors' recommendations?

Do you really believe she is nefariously swaddling her infants each day hoping they won't wake up? Do you really think it's likely that she could have that ploy and success rate twice in the absence of any other "escalating" behaviours that would likely be the outcome of someone trying to murder their babies verses just putting them to sleep?

Sadly, the risk of SIDS is higher in families who have already experienced a SIDS death. The most recent research suggests that SIDS is genetic. I see this in practice.

ashoka writes:

I do not want to be the devil avocate and that may come from differences in legislations between countries.

But first kid couldn’t be her fault, at least in my country, when a minor has a kid the parents are responsible, so her mother should have part of the responsibility.

Even if we do not consider law, she was 16 and birth when young is even more traumatic, inexperienced and I immagine quite tired to look after the kid, it was horrible and it was a stupid mistake but I would investigate why nobody was there to understand she wasn’t ready to be alone.

The second time you told it, she was alone with two kids, one was a toddler and we know how toddler are and the other a newborn, I get bf was working and tired but she was working 24h 7day with no stop looking after them.

Many parents work and then go home and look after their kid, to allow the partner to at least get some sleep. Of course she wasn’t thinking straight she was sleep deprived. If bf was so unable to help why not calling a relatives or a friends?

What can be said against SIL is that she got pregnant one after another starting from 16y old to now, that isn’t healthy for her neither for the kids. She should go to therapy or starting to using more protection.

leyhpawg writes:

I had a good friend that had 3 kids, one survived, and the father had custody, one died of “SIDS” and by the time the third died at the same age as the second baby, the cops finally did an investigation and found out the cause of death of the third baby was smothering.

So that caused them to dig up the second baby and do another autopsy and they found out instead of SIDS that they thought, that baby also died of smothering. She’s in prison for life now.

It came as such a shock to all that knew her, because we would’ve never expected her to kill her precious little girls, at 2 months old. But she did. And her oldest Son was lucky to be alive, thanks to his father, for gaining full custody early on.

bathmaster writes:

Even with an autopsy infant deaths are hard for a mortician/M.E. - so many things can go wrong. Actually, a lot of SIDS deaths are related to asphyxiation most likely but depending on the manner it can be hard to be conclusive.

SIDS isn't what people think it is - it can be related to almost anything and be written as the cause of death if there's no "blame" to put down. Dry drowning is also another thing that is attributed to SIDS.

In the case, though, it sounds like criminal negligence bordering on munchausen. Just....SIDs itself is rare even if there's a contributing factor and this is definitely NOT random at some point. Sister should be investigated for sure. Anyway, source - work with an ex-medical examiner.

goddessofspite writes:

Once might be an accident twice however is never an accident. Not when it comes to kids. If you’re too stupid to learn how to care for them don’t have them. You need to call cps and have them check on her and put the fear of god into her that this won’t get her attention but jail time.

And now, OP's major update, which answers a lot of questions:

UPDATE: Thank you all for the comments. I understand I was vague with some information but it's just to keep her identity closed. But to clear some things:

Yes. There was an investigation on the second death. But she was cleared of any fault, given that they couldn't test her fist child because it was cremated and the circumstances surrounding the death didnt seem like neglect. He was "overall healthy" and "being taken care of properly" as the police and CPS workers told our family.

That being said, yes we did push both the police and CPS to look further into the case. The CPS worker had a meeting with a lot of the family members and those around SIL who had seen her interact with the children. But she is very good at telling them exactly what they want to hear.

The only reason we know exactly how the babies died as I have described is that she told us. And we in turn told this information to the authorities. She admitted to propping the bottle and sleeping through the night and again with the swaddling of her sick baby. She knew what she was doing and said she was too tired and needed sleep.

Her husband is the father of her last 3 children. (The one who rolled over and died, her miscarriage, and now her newborn). Her first 2 were from a different father. He has always given and excuse for anything she does and has made sure she has alibis. Granted he was at work when the second baby died.

Readers continued to weigh in:

victhemaddest writes:

A newborn cannot roll over. Fact source: I’m a midwife. I would share your grounds for being suspicious and can understand your anxiety regarding the 1 year old. But if the 3 year old is thriving then you’re unlikely to be able to get CPS involved without further concerns.

forevermild writes:

This sounds like criminal neglect. But I'm surprised no one mentioned postpartum depression. She might be sick in the head already but it also might've been worsened by PPD from every child or Mc she's had here... so sad. Those poor kids.

What is YOUR take on this situation? Is SIL innocent? Is OP taking things too far?

Sources: Reddit
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