FBI data show cases of children murdering their parents is rare

Published: Jul. 12, 2017 at 5:42 PM CDT
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Over the last ten months, the Quad City area has seen three high-profile cases of children arrested for killing one or both of their parents. It's a type of murder known as "parricide."

The crimes draw lots of attention, but official statistics show these cases are rare. The most recent FBI data from 2014 showed 169 people were killed by family members younger than themselves. The data doesn't distinguish the exact relationship. But the data also shows in 2014, there were over 14,000 murders across the United States. Parricide was only a small fraction.

This string of shocking cases started last October in Davenport. Police were called to Donna and Kevin Freese's home after a neighbor called 911. Their son Sean was arrested for their murders. He's undergoing a mental health evaluation to determine if he can stand trial.

Last month police were called to do a welfare check at the home of Brian and Michelle Glasz outside DeWitt. Deputies found their bodies inside, strangled. Police found their son Gavin outside the home with injuries to his hands. He was charged with his parents' murders.

Anna Schroeder faces murder charges in Morrison for killing her mother. She's the only juvenile among this group.

Police said she confessed to shooting her mother in the forehead with a revolver and then trying to burn down the house to get rid of the body.

All await trial.

A 2008 study tried to find answers about parricide. The authors concluded the numbers of parricides are very consistent, with most of the murders caused by an argument. The authors also found the numbers of juveniles killing their parents fell from the early 1980's, even though more of these stories have been reported in the media.

The authors wrote heightened awareness of child abuse may have helped keep the numbers of juvenile murders steady by getting state services to these children. But the authors also wrote the steadiness in the overall numbers show more prevention and intervention efforts are needed to reduce these murders.