California · Female Killers · Newspaper clippings · Religion

Child killed by mother in “voodoo murder”

From the Mansfield (Ohio) News-Journal
Published February 20, 1940

Betty Hardaker (25) was wanted for questioning by police regarding the beating death of her 5 year old daughter, Geraldine, in a public restroom. According to neighbors, Betty was part of a “voodoo church that believes in human sacrifice,” and that “God tells them to kill people.”

Betty was later apprehended and tried but found mentally unfit to stand trial and so was acquitted. Her husband, Charles, divorced her and took custody of their younger children (ages 2-years and 8-months), and her parents had her committed to a state health facility, but she escaped briefly.

The last I could find of her, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 3 years probation for assaulting her ex-husband. According to The Los Angeles Times (August 25, 1945), Betty “was accused of throwing lysol in the face of her ex-husband, Charles Hardaker, last April 27 when he came to her parents’ home and assertively attempted to kiss her.”

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