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Elderly Woman Confesses to Smothering Her Son 53 Years Ago, Surviving Kids Say She’s Responsible for Death of Twin Sisters

November 28, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Elderly Woman Confesses to Smothering Her Son 53 Years Ago, Surviving Kids Say She’s Responsible for Death of Twin Sisters Image courtesy of freep.com

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An elderly Michigan woman confessed to murdering her infant son in 1961 and the woman could be responsible for the deaths of her twin daughters in 1969 and 1970, according to her surviving children.

Janice Summerfield, 77, shocking admitted in her Kalamazoo retirement home that she smothered 8-month-old William Earl Summerfield to death 53 years ago.

The official cause of death was accidental asphyxiation, which is listed on his death certificate, says her daughter Paula Gastian, 54.

Paula Gastian - Image courtesy of nydailynews.com

Paula Gastian – Image courtesy of nydailynews.com

Gastian and her brother Phil Summerfield, found their 4-year-old younger brother dead in his bed and Phil was actually blamed for the boy’s death by his mother.

Phil Summerfield - Image courtesy of nydailynews.com

Phil Summerfield – Image courtesy of nydailynews.com

Gastian says her mother was also responsible for the death of her twin sisters Brenda and Beth while still babies.

After the boy died, Phil lived with the guilt his whole life. “After she allegedly smothered him, she put the baby back in the bed with me, I picked him up, took him downstairs. She told me it was my fault.”

Gastian told a local newspaper that she asked her mother if she had told anyone and she replied “i told my dad, and he replied Well I haven’t been there for you and I guess life goes on.”

Gastian had initially went to her mother to confront her about the deaths of her twin sisters after her father was imprisoned in September for sexually assaulting a child of a family friend.
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Her mother was willing to discuss the incident, Gastian was expecting to finally hear about either a double murder or at the least willful neglect of her baby twin sisters.

However, in a shocking admission, Gastian said her mother admitted killing her baby daughter Beth in 1969 and then her twin sister Brenda just months later in 1970.
Gastian says her mother blamed her for Brenda’s death.

Image courtesy of battlecreekenquirer.com

Image courtesy of battlecreekenquirer.com

Gastian went on to explain to the newspaper saying, ‘She was quiet and then she said his name, I don’t know how I stayed calm.’

At first she denied she killed him , Summerfield told the Battle Creek Enquirer, “but then she confessed in fact that she killed William all those years ago.”

William (standing) - Image courtesy of battlecreekenquirer.com

William (standing) – Image courtesy of battlecreekenquirer.com

My mother said, ‘I didn’t know what I was doing,’ she said. ‘All these years I had forgotten. I am going to die. I hate myself so much. I am ready to die.’ she told Gastian.

The body of William Earl Summerfield has been exhumed and an autopsy is to be performed. It is not yet known , whether or not Summerfield would be charged.

An investigation could begin in the death of either twin.

The elderly mother’s confession was redeeming for Phil Summerfield, who was in and out of therapy his entire life because he felt responsible for William’s death at such a young age.

Both Phil and Paula say all the children were subjected to abuse, including beatings and being tossed down stairs.

Janice Summerfield’s surviving children, including the youngest, Michael don’t recollect the abuse because the atmosphere in the home was not an abusive environment once the parents ‘turned to religion”.

Both of Summerfield’s kids feel their mother’s action resulted in the death of the twins.

“We both lived through hell, as children” Gastian said. “Now to know so many things will be exposed, it is a relief for my siblings who are gone but in my heart have never ever, been forgotten.”

When asked what she expects from the confession Gastian replied, “ I Don’t want to see her go to prison, but she needs to be somewhere to pay for what she has done.”

Her biggest fear is that authorities won’t have enough evidence to support her confession.

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