Mother Kills Baby Daughter; Stabs Self

Last sentence in paragraph 6 reads: "Police searching her apartment found a bottle of Effexor, a drug used to treat depression and anxiety."

Mother says she killed daughter to protect child from 'spirits'

The Associated Press
Last Updated 4:50 am PST Wednesday, December 14, 2005

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – A Eugene woman has told police that she killed her 17-month-old daughter to protect the baby from spirits. 

A search warrant affidavit written by Eugene police Detective Tracey Belshee and filed in Lane County Circuit Court states that Dawn Serrena Young told two Red Bluff, Calif., detectives that spirits were talking to her and abusing her 17-month-old daughter, Ruby. 
Young was arrested Nov. 23 after she crashed her pickup truck into parked cars at a Red Bluff lumber store. Police found her covered in blood from self-inflicted chest wounds. 

She later confessed to killing Ruby by suffocating her with her hand, police have said. She led Red Bluff detectives to an area near the Sacramento River, where Ruby's body was found. 

Young had practiced both Voodoo and Santeria, the affidavit said. She told detectives that she had paid religious practitioners in California and Florida to "cleanse" Ruby. 

Young, 34, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity during her Dec. 6 arraignment in Tehama County Superior Court. Friends have said that Young suffered from bipolar disorder. Police searching her apartment found a bottle of Effexor, a drug used to treat depression and anxiety. 

She remains in Tehama County Jail on a single charge of murder. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 20. 

The manager of the Eugene apartment complex, where Young and Ruby lived, told Eugene police that she saw Young loading things into her truck on Nov. 22 at about 11 a.m. She said she did not see Ruby at the time. 

Rosemary Childs, a friend of Young, said the woman was trying to get away from her spiritual past. Since moving to Eugene a year ago, she had explored both Buddhism and Christianity. 

But Young worried about her daughter's spiritual well-being, Childs told The Register-Guard newspaper of Eugene. 

"She had mentioned that she had some deities that she was taking care of and she hadn't been taking care of them, so she was really afraid for Ruby," Childs said. 

The Sacramento Bee