Pennsylvania

What could have made Bucks ’mother kill her sons? – Morning call

Trin Nguyen has experienced a lot of stress in her life since her recent divorce, including a quick eviction from her home in Upper Makefield. But she seemed to be moving on with her life.

She recently started selling false eyelashes online and was making a profit in her new business. She made sure Jeffrey’s son, 13, didn’t miss the team’s daily swimming training, and took Jeffrey and 9-year-old Nelson to the annual Upper Makefield Fire Co.

It all happened a few days before authorities claimed that on May 2, she shot her sons in the head while they were lying in bed. Authorities say she planned the attack by writing instructions on how to handle the remains of her and her sons, leaving it to investigators. after the opening of the boys.

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office did not disclose the motives, although irrelevant court documents give an idea of ​​Nguyen’s problems.

Mental health experts say it may be some time before the full picture of Nguyen, who is being held in a Bucks County jail without bail on charges of murder and attempted murder, appears. Researchers have found common characteristics and patterns of parents who killed their children, but this is not something that is easy to predict, according to forensic experts.

According to researchers, financial problems, single parenthood, multiple children, drug abuse and mental illness are among the factors commonly identified in parents who kill their child. Prolonged periods of stress can also lead parents with poor coping skills to reach a point of mental breakdown.

“Motives, a lot of dynamics, a lot of circumstances. You can’t say A, B, C, D, and then there’s the murder, “said psychologist Dr. Louis Schlesinger, who specializes in deviant behavior at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “People want to look for a turning point in someone’s life and won’t find it. There are many things that happen in people’s lives. “

About 500 times a year in the United States, parents intentionally kill their own child, according to 2014 data. study, the first comprehensive look at a phenomenon known as phylicide. Ohio psychologist Cheryl Meyer, an expert on domestic violence, praised the mother kills a child somewhere in the US every three days.

At least four Bucks County children have been killed by their parents in high-profile cases over the past six years. Among them are 7-year-old Kayden Mancuso, who was killed by his father in 2018; Damon Decre, 13, and 25-year-old Naa’ira Smith, who were among the five family members killed by their mother, Shana Decre and 19-year-old sister Dominic, in Morrisville in 2019; and 14-year-old Grace Packer, whose rape and murder in 2016 came at the hands of a foster mother and a foster mother after years of physical and sexual abuse.

While a mother accused of killing her child is often particularly shocking, studies show that both sexes kill offspring at about the same rate.

Some parents kill as a result of symptoms of psychotic disorders, but this is rare, according to Schlesinger.

He added that it is impossible to generalize what motivates parents to murder.

Nguyen does not immediately seem to fit the established pattern of a father killing a child based on five factors that mental health experts say motivate those parents, including the unwanted child, partner revenge and parental beliefs – real or imagined – that the child is better to die.

She allegedly used a gun, which is unusual for philicides, especially for women. Mental or physical health problems are not mentioned in court documents related to child custody cases. Most children killed by their parents are under 6 years old; her son was 9 and 13 years old. Mothers are less likely than parents to plan murders; police say Nguyen planned the shooting at least a week in advance.

Often, mental health experts find that a parent experiences multiple stressors that occur simultaneously or over a short period of time, said Dr. Susan Hatters Friedman, a professor of forensic psychiatry and an adjunct professor of law at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

“The more intense these (factors) are, the more likely it is that someone will get tougher,” she said. “Sometimes there’s a history of mental health, but even there it’s such a rare thing that it’s hard to predict.”

Predicting that a parent is at risk of killing a child is difficult because the risk factors that are seen as red flags are the ones that most American parents experience at some point, Hatters Friedman said.

“Many people are threatened with eviction, and they never dream of doing something like that,” she added. “These are stressors that many people have to face in their lives, so it’s almost impossible to point to one thing.”

Nguyen’s alleged failed attempt to shoot a non-family member after shooting her sons is also unusual in murder cases. Police say she tried to shoot her ex-husband’s nephew, her master’s son, who lives next door, when she tried to escape.

Court documents show that Nguyen had a disputed relationship because of the more than $ 11,000 unpaid rent she owed, which led to the May 3 eviction. The landlord’s lawyer claimed that Nguyen threatened and scolded her client and allegedly threw dog feces at the front door.

911 County records show that last year, police answered four calls marked as household, to a house on Timber Ridge Road where Nguyen and her sons lived.

The last call was marked as “follow-up” on April 27, five days before police said she had shot her children. District records do not provide any other details about the nature of the calls, including who made them.

Nguyen also faced a future trial with her ex-husband Edward Tini, who wanted to stop a planned summer trip to Vietnam with their son. Tini said he feared his wife would pick up Nelson and never return, calling her a “classic kidnapper of parents” in court documents.

Nguyen denied that she intended to stay in Vietnam, and was described as “offended” by the allegations in the conference’s evaluator’s report on detention.

Court records show that Nguyen made similar claims against Scott Dean’s previous ex-husband, leading to a three-year struggle for custody of their now 16-year-old son. Dean is Jeffrey’s biological father. The couple divorced in 2009, and Dean received physical custody of the eldest child, who was then about 4 years old, and Nguyen received physical custody of Jeffrey, who was an infant.

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Court documents show that Nguyen tried to reunite with her eldest son after he spent several years with his father, but failed. Despite the fact that she received general physical care, the judge ruled that tearing the boy, then still a teenager, away from his father would be a “significant obstacle” in his life.

The unfavorable outcome of a previous child custody case and the threat of a new custody struggle could cause Nguyen to go crazy thinking, said Dr. Richard Lettieri, a forensic neuropsychologist who investigates parents who kill their children.

“Certainly, among all the other stressors and the belief that she will lose her children,” he said.

But the image of an enraged mother who got out of control is vastly different from the woman she knew, said a Missouri family law attorney who represented Nguyen in her first fight for custody.

“She is very small, so her restrained personality seemed to match her height,” said lawyer Diane S. Howard. “She was always very quiet, soft and pleasant around, even when dealing with a very stressful situation with her son.”

Howard recalled Nguyen as a mother who worked hard to find her son and rebuild a relationship with him.

“What makes this situation so confusing,” she said.

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