Too often, the figure of the stepmother tends to get a bad rap. Even the word itself immediately brings to mind the qualifier “wicked,” while conjuring images of hags harping on fairy tale princesses.
This is, to put it mildly, unfair — particularly in a world of increasingly mixed families where stepmothers seem to be as common as the birth kind.
Like every other kind of parent, almost all stepmoms strive to do the best they can. Alas, though, there are the following five horrendous examples. Not only do these heinous criminals play to the worst stereotypes of stepmothers, they even redefine the very concept of “wicked.”
1. HEATHER JONES STARVED STEPSON; DAD FED BOY TO PIGS
KANSAS CITY, KS — Heather Jones, 30, pleaded guilty in November 2016 to the murder of Adrian Jones, her seven-year-old stepson. The boy died after being starved, confined, and suffering all manner of physical and emotional agony, including shocking him for 20 seconds at a time with a stun gun.
Michael Jones, Adrian’s father, subsequently fed the boy’s corpse to pigs that were kept on the family property. Authorities removed six other children, aged 2 to 10, from what they described as a “house of horrors.”
As part of their plea deals, both Heather and Michael Jones received life sentences. Each will be eligible for parole after 25 years. [Inside Edition]
2. MARIE MAGOON FATALLY TORTURES STEPDAUGHTER; NOW WANTS OUT OF PRISON
CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA — In November 2011, Spencer Jordan punched his six-year-old daughter Meika in the stomach with such force, the child cracked her head on a tile floor. He then dragged Meika up and down the stairs by the hair, tearing clumps out of her head in the process.
Marie Magoon, Meika’s stepmother, then took over. Magoon kicked Meika down the steps and slammed the girl’s head on the kitchen floor, demanding to known why the child wouldn’t listen to her father. Eventually, Magoon held Meika’s hand over the flame of a lighter, even as the first-grader screamed and wet her pants.
This sadism continued over the course of an entire weekend. The perpetrators eventually called paramedics and told them that Meika had taken an accidental tumble down the staircase. The next day, the six-year-old died in a hospital from head trauma.
A Canadian court initially convicted both Jordan and Magoon of second-degree murder. In December 2016, however, an appeal court upgraded their convictions to first-degree murder, increasing their sentences from 17 to 25 years before the possibility of parole.
In January 2017, Marie Magoon petitioned the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn her murder conviction altogether. She is still waiting for a response to her request. [National Post]
3. SARA PACKER ALLEGEDLY ACTED OUT RAPE/MURDER FANTASY ON STEPDAUGHTER
DOYLESTOWN, PA — Sara Packer, 41, is presently awaiting trial alongside her partner Jacob Sullivan, 44, for the July 2016 rape, murder, and dismemberment, of Grace Packer, Sara’s 14-year-old adopted daughter.
Prior to the killing, Sara Packer had worked as a supervisor for Northampton County’s Division of Children, Youth, and Families.
Sullivan stands accused of raping and strangling Grace in the attic of the couple’s rental home while Packer watched and encouraged. Afterward, they allegedly stored Grace’s body in kitty litter to prevent odor. Four months later, they cut up Grace and ditched her remains in a wooded area 75 miles away. Hunters found the body that November.
Prosecutors allege that Grace’s death had been long planned as part of the couple’s shared rape-and-murder fetishes. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said:
“They wanted to see a certain result come about to satisfy some sick, perverted fantasy of theirs, and they made it a reality. To them, [Grace] was unfortunately a disposable child.”
In addition, Packer is charged with theft for continuing to cash Grace’s government assistance checks after the child was dead. Packer and Sullivan are being held without bail as court proceedings continue. Sullivan may face the death penalty. [Philly.com]
4. JESSICA COX SHACKLED, STARVED, AND BURNED TEEN STEPSONS IN TINY TRAILER
KNOXVILLE, TN — On March 9, 2017, a jury found Jessica Cox (main photo, above), 40, guilty of 23 of 29 counts of criminal child abuse. She was convicted of the 2013 torture of the sons of her ex-cop husband, Michael McIntosh. At the time, brothers Justin McIntosh Austin McIntosh were 14 and 16, respectively.
According to court documents, Cox handcuffed the teens inside a “tiny trailer,” where she proceeded to beat them with household objects, burn them, deprive them of food, and subject them to psychological humiliation. The brothers finally managed to slip free of their confinement and ran to the authorities.
Michael McIntosh admitted on the stand that he aided and abetted Cox in the abuse, stating: “I chose her over them. I went along with what she wanted to do, even though I was their father.”
Cox is presently awaiting sentencing. McIntosh remains on trial for his role in the crimes. [WBIR]
5. ARJUN SAMDHI PARDAS STRANGLES STEPDAUGHTER; DUMPS HER NAKED IN BATHTUB
QUEENS, NY — In August 2016, police arrested 55-year-old Arjun Samdhi Pardas, for the beating and strangulation murder of her stepdaughter Ashdeep Kaur, a nine-year-old immigrant from Punjab, India.
After dumping the child’s naked body in a bathtub, Pardas initially claimed to not know what happened. Compounding the tragedy, adults around the situation suspected abuse but took no action. Manjinder Singh, Ashdeep’s uncle, told the press:
“That is how we grew up in Punjab. I was thinking, ‘It’s normal, it’s OK. It’s family’…. [Ashdeep] always told me she doesn’t like to be with her stepmother. Sometimes she got beatings from her … I’m not thinking she’s going to kill her.”
Let this be a reminder that if you in any way suspect child abuse anywhere, you must report it to the proper authorities. You can call 911 or 1 (800) 4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). All calls remain confidential and you can be kept anonymous.
For more Wicked Stepmoms and Murderous Moms, watch full episodes of Investigation Discovery’s Evil Stepmothers, Deadly Women, and more on ID GO.
Main photo: Jessica Cox mug shot [Knox County Sheriff’s Department]