The death of an 8-month-old baby that took place 53 years ago is being investigated again – after the child’s now 77-year-old mother recently confessed to killing her son.
Janice Summerfield, who lives in a nursing home in Michigan, reportedly told her 54-year-old daughter Paula Gastian that she killed little William Earl Summerfield III on May 29, 1961 in Tekonsha, reports Fox News. The cause of death at the time was anoxia, or oxygen deprivation to the brain, but investigators at the Calhoun County Sheriff Department recently removed his casket from a cemetery grave in order to open a fresh homicide investigation. Autopsy results are pending.
Summerfield reportedly confessed to her daughter, “My mind wasn’t right. I killed that baby. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
The mother allegedly smothered her infant son and then placed the baby in bed next to his four-and-a-half year old brother Phil, who was asleep at the time.
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“I was shy of 5 years old,” Phil, now 58, said. “I woke and he was dead. I picked him up and took him downstairs. She told me it was my fault.”
For years, Phil says he went through life believing he had killed his own baby brother.
According to Gastian, she and her brother were raised in an abusive home in which they watched Summerfield take drugs and dealt with a father who was never around – and who was ultimately sent to prison for sexually assaulting a friend’s child.
After reportedly “finding God,” Summerfield decided to confess to her daughter. Her story has made Gastian now question whether her mother was also responsible for killing her twin sisters, who were born in 1969 and whom reportedly died a few months later. The cause of their death at the time was thought to be lung disease.
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“I don’t want her to go to prison,” Gastian said of her mother. “But it needs to be put on record. She needs to be somewhere for what she has done.”