SC Women Who Killed Children: Cases Of “Inconvenience”?


As South Carolinians heard this week about Shaquan Duley, the woman who police say rolled her car into the river, her two toddlers strapped in their car seats, they couldn't help but remember one of the most infamous crimes in state history–the case of Susan Smith 15 years ago, says The State in Columbia, S.C. Could one woman be recreating the other's story? “If there hadn't been Susan Smith, would she have thought to do that?” asked Nicole Holland, communications director for Columbia's Bibleway Church of Atlas Road. Duley would have been 13 in October 1994, when Smith drowned her two boys, 3 years old and 14 months old, by rolling her car into rural lake.

Duley, 29, was quick to confess she had smothered her boys with her hand before putting them in the car. Smith, who was 23 then, told a painful lie: that a black man had taken her car with the boys inside. Laura Hudson, a lobbyist for victims, sees two selfish, immature women who shared a desire to be free of their children. Smith wanted to be free to pursue another man, Hudson said. Duley seemed to feel she didn't have the money she needed for Devean, 2, and Ja'van, 1, Hudson said. She was unemployed and living with her mother. “I think inconvenience is the bottom line in both these cases,” Hudson said.

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