Mom Confesses To Killing Infant Daughter
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 7, 2003
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA--Monday morning, Mine An Ener was in the middle of her usual routine, feeding her 6-month-old daughter in her parent's family room, when she decided to kill the infant.
According to a statement Ener gave to St. Paul police, she picked up baby Raya, walked to the kitchen to get a 12-inch kitchen knife, then went into the bathroom where she sliced the girl's throat -- twice.
Ener said she killed her daughter because she "did not want the child to go through life suffering."
Raya Donagi had Down syndrome. During her short life she had relied much of the time on a feeding tube.
Ener appeared in court Wednesday, charged with second-degree murder. If convicted, she could receive up to 40 years in prison. The judge scheduled her arraignment for August 27 and set her bail at $500,000. She was being held in the county jail on suicide watch.
Ener is a history professor specializing in Middle East studies at Villanova University outside Philadelphia. According to media reports, she had been experiencing post-partum depression in recent months and talked about committing suicide and about hurting her child.
St. Paul police Sgt. Bruce Wynkoop told the Pioneer Press that Ener was surrounded by a loving husband and family who wanted to help her.
"She had alternatives," Wynkoop said.
As has been the case with many high-profile murders of children with disabilities at the hands of their parents, the media and others are focusing on what they call the "parent's suffering".
"Here is a woman who has worked very hard in her career and was very successful. And she probably expected to be just as successful in childbearing and childrearing," said Dr. Shari Lusskin, director of reproductive psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. "And to have a child that is handicapped, it must have been devastating to her."
Many disability groups point out that people with Down syndrome can live satisfying lives -- often living as long as the general population. Many parents of children with Down syndrome have responded that, while there are challenges, the rewards are immeasurable.
Mom charged with killing baby (Pioneer Press)
"Villanova professor is silent in court" (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Missing the up side of Down" (Pioneer Press)