Another “Angel of Death” was Genene Jones of San Antonio, Texas. In 1984 she was tried and convicted of purposely killing two children—one with a blood thinner and one with a drug that paralyzes muscles. She is suspected of killing up to 60 children this way and was recently re-indicted for five murders because the State of Texas did not wish for her to be paroled.
What leads a woman to purposely slaughter infants?
The Early Years: The Adopted “Black Sheep” of the Family
Genene Jones was born in Texas in July of 1950 and immediately put up for adoption, a savage parental rejection which may have permanently warped her perception toward parenthood and infancy.
Although her adopted parents had also taken three other orphaned children into their home, Genene said she was the family’s “black sheep” and never felt accepted.
Her best friend was her younger brother Travis, who at 16 years old assembled a bomb that accidentally blew up in his face and killed him. Genene was reportedly devastated at Travis’s death and made a huge histrionic display of grief at his funeral.
At age 19 she married a man described as her high-school sweetheart. They had one child before the man enlisted in the Navy. While he was gone, she had several affairs and openly bragged about them. When he finally returned, they had another child.
Just as her biological parents had done to her, Genene abandoned both children, leaving her adoptive mother to take care of them.
The “Death Shift”: Genene Becomes a Nurse
Divorced and fearful that the exposure to dyes at her job as a hairdresser might give her cancer, Jones trained to become a nurse.
In the four years she worked at Bexar County Medi9cal Center Hospital in San Antonio, 47 infants died under suspicious circumstances. Jones quickly developed a reputation for extremely suspicious behavior, including:
- Grabbing a syringe and squirting herself and a recently diseased infant with the sign of the cross—in front of several onlookers.
- The fact that infants in her care seemed to constantly require her resuscitation.
- She was often observed singing to an infant’s corpse as she prepared it for delivery to the morgue.
- One infant had seizures three days in a row—but only under her care.
- Seven suspicious infant deaths occurring under her watch in the course of two weeks.
- Once joking, “They’re going to think I’m the Death Nurse.”
- Insisting on carrying dead babies to the hospital morgue herself. In one case, she actually ripped the baby out of a grieving relative’s arms and ran down the corridor with it.
When other nurses began suggesting that Jones may be killing children, they were shot down by the head nurse, Pat Belko, who dismissed their complaints as jealousy. When one nurse repeatedly insisted that Jones was up to no good, the hospital attempted to resolve the matter by insisting that both Jones and the nurse resign, and they both did.
Murder in the Clinic
Against the advice of several people who’d told her that there was something seriously wrong with Jones, Dr. Kathleen Holland dismissed their advice as the murmurings of a male-dominated medical patriarchy. Against their suggestions, she hired Jones in August 1982. Over the next two months, seven infants placed under Jones’s care had unexpected seizures.
In September 1982, fourteen-month-old Chelsea McClellan’s parents brought their infant daughter to Holland’s clinic for a routine immunization. Jones gave her an injection that immediately induced a seizure. When Chelsea’s mother asked Jones to stop, she ignored her and gave her a second injection. After jerking around, Chelsea went limp. Jones began sobbing, wrapped Chelsea in a blanket, and carried her down to the clinic morgue. Chelsea died en route to the hospital.
A week later, when visiting her daughter’s grave, Chelsea’s mother noticed that Jones was already there, kneeling before the tombstone and crying loudly. When she asked Jones what she was doing there, Jones reportedly stared blankly at her and left.
While talking with Jones about the mysterious string of seizures at the clinic, Dr. Holland became deeply suspicious when Jones offered out of nowhere that she had found the “missing” vial of a muscle relaxant called succinylcholine. Holland wasn’t even aware that a vial had gone missing. But upon inspecting it, she realized that there were already two pin pricks in the vial’s rubber top. On September 28, 1982, Holland fired Genene Jones and called police.
A forensic lab determined that the vial was filled with saline rather than succinylcholine—in other words, Genene Jones had already used all of the muscle relaxant and had filled the vial up with salt water to cover her tracks.
Arrest, Trial, and Conviction
In 1984, a grand jury in Kerr County, TX indicted Jones for murdering Chelsea McLellan and also charged her with injuring seven other children she’d injected with muscle relaxers. Forensic technicians had exhumed McClellan’s body and found traces of succinylcholine in her corpse. Jones was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
In 1985, Jones was found guilty of injecting an infant named Rolando Santos with a blood thinner named heparin, nearly killing him. She was found guilty and sentenced to 60 years for this crime.
In the wake of Jones’s conviction—and to avoid further bad publicity and lawsuits—the Texas hospital system destroyed every last document relating to Genene Jones, so we will never know for sure how many children she killed. Examiners say the death toll may be as high as 60.
Due to Texas laws regarding prison sentencing and overcrowding, Jones is eligible for parole in 2018. To counter the possibility of her ever being freed, the State of Texas recently indicted her for five more infant murders and has promised to indict her for more.
Genene Jones: A Psychological Profile
- From an examination of Jones’s behavior, analysts have concluded she likely suffered from Histrionic Personality Disorder:
- She became uneasy if she wasn’t the center of attention.
- Despite widely being deemed unattractive, Jones had a tendency to wear inappropriately seductive clothing and to brag to everyone in earshot—whether or not they asked or wanted to listen—about her alleged sexual conquests.
- She tended to make dramatic public displays of grief and crying over the infants it turns out she had murdered.
It is also reasonable to suspect that the disorder that compelled her murderous behavior was Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, which involves fabricating symptoms of physical illness in order to obtain attention and sympathy from others. This was evident not only in her very public displays of attempting to rescue the children whose conditions she had induced, but also in her rampant hypochondria, which involved over 30 hospital visits where she complained over various illnesses but left 30 times without any medical diagnoses. By both appearing to rescue endangered children and by complaining of imaginary illnesses, Jones received the care and attention that ordinary life had denied her.
Quotes From Genene Jones
I didn’t kill the babies; the voices in my head did.
I always cry when babies die. You can almost explain away an adult death. When you look at an adult die, you can say they’ve had a full life. When a baby dies, they’ve been cheated.
I look back now on what I did and agree with you now that it was heinous, that I was heinous. My only defense is that I was not of sound mind then or any time before 1994. That is not an excuse just a fact. God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, granted me a sound mind upon receiving Him as Lord of my life.