In 1986, 26-year-old Ellen Boehm of St. Louis, Missouri was tired of the constraints of family life. She was married to a much older Vietnam veteran and after five years of marriage, they had two children with a third baby on the way. It became quickly apparent, Ellen may not have been ready for the role of mom as she wasn’t your typical stay-at-home mom. Ellen loved professional wrestling and she spent a lot of time watching the matches. Ellen admitted her marriage was in trouble when she confided in friends. When she was eight months pregnant with the third child, her husband Paul told her when he was in Vietnam, he was exposed to Agent Orange and the only way he could be cured is if he went to Texas for treatment. But it was all a lie because Paul was not sick, he left her for another woman he met on-line. As a result, Ellen was broke. She had been abandoned by her husband but it didn’t stop her from indulging in her favorite pastime. But her favorite professional wrestling hobby started interfering with her life. By the time Ellen Boehm was 28-years-old, she was bankrupt. Her children were more of a burden than a joy.
Ellen’s two-year-old son David was fussy and she couldn’t deal with it. On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1988, she settled the two older children in bed and she let David stay up. As he was lying on the floor, she took a cushion off the couch and smothered him. When she thinks he was dead, she called for help and said she found little David unconscious. Emergency personnel rushed him to the hospital where David was put on life support. But the doctor said there was nothing they could do; he was brain dead. The doctor asked for permission to take David off life-support and Ellen eventually turned to the doctor and said “Pull it”. She never shed a tear. As a result, Ellen received a life insurance pay-out of $5000. Ironically, only eight months after David’s death, Ellen went shopping for life insurance policies for children. According to investigators, there was a total of $94,000 in life insurance taken out on her children. On September 13, 1989, Ellen’s 8-year-old daughter was taking a bath and Ellen dropped a hairdryer in the tub. She didn’t die so Ellen brought her to the hospital. Ellen’s daughter survived with no permanent injuries and everyone just accepted that it was an unfortunate accident.
Twelve days later, Ellen tried again. Her son Stevie was sleeping on the living room floor when Ellen decided to put a pillow over his face and smother him; he died. Steven’s passing created a sense of unease with Ellen’s friends because they couldn’t understand her reaction. It was as if it was just another day. For long time friend Deanne Bond, a third tragedy was just too much and she called the police. She suspected foul play and police conducted a thorough investigation. Realizing the police were closing in on two murders and one attempted murder, Ellen confessed to everything. She broke down and admitted she did it; she explained how she did it but never explained why. But it didn’t take a rocket scientist to observe that Ellen could not have the life she wanted with children so she chose murder. In 1993, Ellen Boehm pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder. She received two life sentences with no possibility of parole. Her friend Deanne suspected after she received the first $5,000 life insurance pay-out for her youngest son David, it set the whole thing in motion. Ellen killed her children for money, it was all about the pay-day.
Source: Evil Guardians, Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery
38. Ellen Boehm of Saint Louis, Missouri
In the 1980s, when Ellen Boehm couldn’t pay her debt, she turned to the quickest payout she knew: life insurance. She murdered her two sons and attempted to kill her daughter. In 1992, Ellen was sentenced to two life terms in prison and is currently incarcerated in Vandalia.
50 American Women Who Killed In 50 Words or Less | Soap Boxie
A mother’s role is to love & protect her children, but for some, that doesn’t ring true. When a Missouri mom uses her children for money, it’s clear they lack motherly love. -Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery (S7, E6)
Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.
Books: Sleep, My Child, Forever by John Coston
Mommy Needs Money: Why Ellen Boehm Murdered Her Children
50 American Women Who Killed In 50 Words or Less
Sleep, My Child, Forever: The Mother Who Killed Her Own Children for Insurance Money
Evil Guardians | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S7,E6)
Evil Guardians | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (website)
Evil Guardians | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Evil Guardians | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Deadly Women Premiered ‘Evil Guardians’ on Investigation Discovery: Single Mother Ellen Boehm Killed Two Sons for the Life Insurance (August 23, 2013)
Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery