There are some tragic cases of parents turning on and even abusing their adopted children. Of course, most adoptive parents are caring and deeply love their children, and thanks to a rigorous screening process cases of abuse are rare. Still, tales of neglect and even instances where children are “returned” to the adoption agencies persist.
The relationship between parent and child is always fraught with difficulty, and adoption adds another layer to an already tricky dynamic. Some very young people from seemingly perfectly stable and conventional backgrounds have inexplicably become murderers – often targeting their own families. And, in some very rare and unusual cases, adopted children have been known to turn on their family and cause them harm; sometimes even killing them.
The following are seven such instances, when adopted children turned on their family. Was it the fault of the child, or the parents, or just cruel fate? Did similar circumstances lead to these tragedies, or are they all simply distinct, tragic flukes?
7. Adopted Son Stabs Sister to Death
In 2013, a 17 year old killed his own sister, Teia Gallo, with a kitchen knife. The teen is the adopted son of a New Jersey doctor, and may have stabbed his sibling due to an argument. His sister was killed in front of another sibling, adding to the trauma and horror of the event.
The two reportedly had a strained relationship, but what triggered her death remains unclear. What is clear is that the family was torn apart by the incident.
The teen boy, Travis, was taken in by Dr. Gallo when he was just three years old, and lived with him until the incident. He was charged with murder as a juvenile. ‘There are two lives lost,’ the boy’s adopted father said of the incident.
6. 14 Year Old Boy Stabs Foster Mother
In June of 2011, a boy from Glasgow, Scotland made headlines for murdering his foster mother. The 14 year old stabbed Dawn McKenzie ten times in the head and body. Why he did so may be even more disturbing.
According to reports, the boy was upset at his foster mother because she was punishing him for bad behavior. She had grounded him and had taken away his Xbox, laptop and phone – the phone he used in order to keep in touch with his biological mother. It’s this which may have pushed him over the edge.
His foster father, who was not home at the time, said that the boy did not seem upset over his punishment. Meanwhile, the murderer’s defence advocate has claimed that early abuse from his biological parents meant that the boy suffered from a ‘dissociative state’ which left him unable to distinguish between right and wrong. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
5. Adopted Daughter and Boyfriend Kill Parents
Adopted at just two months old by a childless couple, Shrihari and Sneha Vinod, this unnamed 16 year old girl was brought into the family and raised as in a wealthy neighbourhood. Classmates said she was antisocial and unpopular. At 16, she murdered bother her parents, in their early 60s, over a romantic entanglement.
The girl, along with her 22 year old boyfriend, killed her adoptive parents and then left the bodies to decompose. Sapan Purani, her boyfriend, was reportedly behind the decision to end the lives of Shrihari and Sneha because they disagreed with their daughter’s relationship.
After committing the crime, the pair returned to the home many times and poured acid over the bodies in order to speed the process of decomposition. The police were met with the grisly scene and took the two into custody. The murderous daughter has confessed to poisoning her parents, and calling her boyfriend in to finish off the grisly job.
4. Lawrence J. Swartz Kills His Adoptive Parents
Lawrence J. Swartz killed both of his adoptive parents in 1984. He was seventeen years old.
The killings were so gruesome and so highly publicised that they became the inspiration for a book and movie. People became fascinated with the story. The murders may have been due to abuse experienced by Swartz prior to his adoption – he had spent years moving between foster homes – as well as to the strict nature of his new parents.
The couple was reportedly very religious and set many rules, which may have pushed Swartz over the edge. Swartz killed them both with a wood-splitting axe and steak knife. He served just 9 years in prison for his crimes.
3. Moses Kamin
In 2012 an adopted teen became the center of horrified news coverage. Moses Kamin, who was just 15 at the time, was charged as an adult with two counts of murder. The victims were his two foster parents.
Kamin has been adopted by the couple around ten years before the incident, though his familial circumstances are not believed to have been a factor in the murder. The teen admitted to strangling his parents after police found the bodies inside their car.
The couple was covered under a blanket by the teen and left there, although he may have also attempted to set the car on fire. As to the motive for the murders? Police have pointed to possible depression and trouble at school as potential triggers.
George Stevenson was brought up in a family that had many foster children, and, when he was old enough, decided to adopt a child himself. That child was called Galen Stevenson. What happened years after the adoption was truly shocking.
Galen was a “problem child” and suffered from psychological issues. And in 2012, he chose to kill his own adoptive father. In April of that year, Galen stabbed George Stevenson over 20 times. His adoptive father, who was only 43 at the time, died from multiple punctures to his lungs and other parts of his body.
Galen was 16 when he committed the crime, but he was charged as an adult. What was supposed to be happy and lifelong adoption ended in tragedy.
1. Roksana Sikorski’s Plot To Kill Her Family
Roksana Sikorski, a 15 year old teen, made headlines recently after plotting to kill her family. After an abusive childhood at a Polish adoption agency, Roksana was adopted by a Michigan couple. She lived as one of the family, alongside the couple’s biological son and daughter.
She would go on to attempt to murder her adoptive brother.
The plot to murder her family was apparently created by Sikorski and her older boyfriend, Michael Rivera (23). The two were to run away with each other following the murder.
After stabbing her brother, Sikorski was allegedly supposed to then kill her parents, all while communicating with her boyfriend, who waited outside.
Roksana’s adoptive parents have stuck by the teen in the fallout, saying that she suffered from mental illness and that they still care about her. The parents want to see her get help for her illness and for what may be an abusive relationship with her boyfriend.
The case truly shocked the nation, and many are keen to remind us that this kind of occurrence is an isolated one and should not discourage parents from adopting children. They say that there are many children out there with mental health issues that need loving homes, and that these adoptions rarely end tragically.
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