August 27, 2003
Nicole Diar murders her 4-year-old son Jacob before setting his body on fire to hide evidence
On August 27, firefighters responded to a call regarding a burning house. Once the fire was extinguished, they found the body of Jacob, charred to the point Assistant Fire Chief Anthony Cuevas remarked “At first glance I didn’t even realize there was a child there.” Firefighters also found Jacob’s puppy, who had lived with the family for only a few days, dead under the child’s bed.
According to statements taken from the firefighters, Diar — who had herself been the victim of severe burning at the age of 4 when her brother accidentally set her clothing on fire — claimed to have run through the smoke-filled home to find Jacob, though the firefighters also noted she did not have soot on her skin or clothing, nor did she smell of smoke. Also noted in the report was the fact the bathtub was still filled with water, which Diar claimed was from giving Jacob a bath the night before. Diar exhibited other strange behavior, including going to a bar to drink and line-dance with friends and family the night of Jacob’s funeral. Diar was arrested with these pieces of circumstantial evidence and due to claims of child neglect including an allegation she had paid teenaged neighbors with cigarettes to babysit Jacob, and encouraged them to sedate Jacob with Codeine.
During Diar’s trial, the prosecution suggested Jacob had either been drowned in the bathtub or had been strangled; due to the extensive burning to his body, Jacob’s exact cause of death could not be determined.
Diar was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 2005. Due to a legal technicality (incomplete jury instructions, the jury was not told if a single juror did not vote for the death penalty her life would be spared), Diar’s sentence was commuted to life without the possibility of parole.
Horrific history from today:
1905: Crime scene photo, Paris 1905 (2017)
1934: Unidentified woman’s body found burned (2017)
1938: Convicts scalded to death (2017)
1938: Ex-con crucified (2017)
1938: Man kills girlfriend for rejecting marriage proposal (2017)
1887: The Illustrated Police News: an execution; man watches as sharks eat the bodies of his wife and children; man kills children, self after losing job; a bee attack leads to death of woman (2018)
1934: Several cases of misfortune, including a hornet-assisted suicide and two babies burned after brother plays with matches (2018)
Today in Horror History: August 27