England · Executions · Female Killers

“Baby farmer” hanged for murder of 4-month-old in her care

June 10, 1896
London, England
Amelia Dyer is hanged for the murder of a 4-month-old girl

Dyer was a “baby farmer,” a term used for those who took in infants and toddlers whose parents could not afford to keep them, or who were unwed and did not want to face social disgrace. Some baby farmers realized if a child were to leave their care early enough, the fees paid to care for them outweighed the cost to raise them. This led to, at best, quick adoptions and, at worst, murder.

After her arrest, Dyer told investigators her victims bore a particular signature, stating “you’ll know mine by the tape around their necks.” An estimated 30-40 children’s bodies were pulled from the Thames with dressmaker tape around their necks, though it was suspected Dyer murdered many more children whose bodies were not recovered. Dyer had been a baby farmer for 17 years before her arrest, making her possible victim count staggeringly high.

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