Investigators construct detailed classification system for child homicide by a parent

November 18, 1999

DALLAS - November 19, 1999 - Investigators at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas are providing insight into a most disturbing crime - the killing of a child by a parent, or filicide.

In a recent article in The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Dr. Joseph Guileyardo, UT Southwestern assistant professor of pathology, and colleagues described a rare case of familial filicide in which twin sisters, in separate attempts, tried to kill their own children; one succeeded. Because they knew of no similar cases involving siblings, the researchers reviewed the literature and identified and characterized 16 subtypes of filicide, providing a framework of motives, causes and precipitating factors. They believe that a better understanding of these categories will lead to strategies for prevention.

"To protect potential child homicide victims, it is necessary to know how and why they are killed," said Guileyardo, who also is deputy chief medical examiner at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. "We, as medical examiners, see a much wider variety of filicide case types than those written about in psychiatric literature. We are in a unique position to set up this classification system that will aid in understanding such homicides."

The new system classifies filicide based on the primary motive or cause that led to the act. The classification system allows for comparison of a case at hand with previously described patterns of behavior.

The subtypes - each characterized in detail in the article - consist of altruism, euthanasia, acute psychosis, postpartum mental disorder, unwanted child, unwanted pregnancy, angry impulse, spousal revenge, sexual abuse, Munchhausen syndrome by proxy, violent older child, negligence and neglect, sadism and punishment, drug and alcohol abuse, seizure disorder, and innocent bystander.

"Community access to immediate psychiatric care, prompt intervention at the first report of child abuse and social agencies cognizant of the need for taking 'unwanted' children all would be of help in preventing filicide," Guileyardo said.

In addition to Guileyardo, Dr. Jeffrey Barnard, UT Southwestern professor of pathology and chief medical examiner of Dallas County, and Dr. Joseph A. Prahlow, former UT Southwestern assistant professor of pathology participated in this study.
-end-
This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at http://www.swmed.edu/home_pages/news/

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, send a message to UTSWNEWS-REQUEST@listserv.swmed.edu. Leave the subject line blank and in the text box, type SUB UTSWNEWS

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related Pathology Articles from Brightsurf:

Aging alone does not explain kidney pathology
Histopathology in non-neoplastic kidney tissue from 1,347 nephrectomy specimens showed very limited histopathologic changes in subset of older individuals.

MarrowQuant: A new digital-pathology tool
EPFL scientists have developed a digital pathology tool for quantifying bone marrow compartments in standard histological sections.

DNA webs may drive lung pathology in severe COVID-19
Sticky webs of DNA released from immune cells known as neutrophils may cause much of the tissue damage associated with severe COVID-19 infections, according to two new studies published September 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM).

Novel pathology could improve diagnosis and treatment of Huntington's and other diseases
Bristol scientists have discovered a novel pathology that occurs in several human neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington's disease.

Framework helps clinicians identify serious spinal pathology
Rehabilitation clinicians and other health care professionals now have a framework for assessing and managing people who may have serious spinal pathologies.

Subtle decline in cognition predicts progression to Alzheimer's pathology
Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine report that abnormal levels of beta-amyloid plaques in brain predict cognitive decline and higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, but also that cognitive performance predicts progression from normal to abnormal levels of beta-amyloid.

Metabolic disturbance in the brain exacerbates, may forewarn Alzheimer's pathology
A better understanding of the metabolic processes in the brain -- specifically disturbances resulting from neurodegenerative diseases -- has important implications for potential treatments.

Sleep history predicts late-life Alzheimer's pathology
Sleep patterns can predict the accumulation of Alzheimer's pathology proteins later in life, according to a new study of older men and women published in JNeurosci.

Amyloid pathology transmission in lab mice and historic medical treatments
A UCL-led study has confirmed that some vials of a hormone used in discontinued medical treatments contained seeds of a protein implicated in Alzheimer's disease, and are able to seed amyloid pathology in mice.

Improved understanding of the pathology of dwarfism may lead to new treatment targets
Pseudoachondroplasia (PSACH) is a severe inherited dwarfing condition In PSACH, a genetic mutation leads to abnormal retention of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of cartilage-producing cells (chondrocytes), which interferes with function and cell viability.

Read More: Pathology News and Pathology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.