Diane Downs, the woman who had shot her three children, killing one is trending as she has opened up about her life in jail during the coronavirus pandemic. Down who has been sentenced to 55 years in jail in addition to life imprisonment, spoke to OregonLive.
She is currently lodged at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, California. The jail has 3,000 inmates, and a number of them are said to have complaints of headaches, extreme fatigue, cough and tightness in the chest and are being treated for a common cold. Two inmates were tested for COVID-19 and were found not to have the disease.
Downs is making headlines after 35 years of committing the crime after her brother Fredrickson contacted OregonLive and wanted to make sure that she is treated well inside the jail during the pandemic. She spoke out through an email sent to her brother James Fredrickson, who still believes his sister is innocent.
The Tragic Incident of 1983
Downs was convicted of shooting her three children: Danny, Cheryl, and Christie in Springfield, Oregon 37 years ago. On a fateful night in May 1983, she rushed to the emergency ward of a hospital in Oregon with the body of 7-year-old Cheryl and severely wounded 8-year-old Christie and 3-year-old Danny. She was also shot in the arm.
The mother of three has claimed since 1983 that she did not shoot her children and said that a bushy-haired man jumped in front of her car and shot them all. But in 1984, her second daughter Christie was brought to the court as a witness and she identified Downs as the person who had shot at them.
Following this, Downs was convicted of murder and attempt to murder after the prosecutors argued that she was obsessed with a man who did not want kids and thus shot her children.
The 64-years-old Downs said in the recent email that she is worried about her children Danny and Christie during the COVID-19 pandemic and also knows very well that they will never know how much she loves them.
In fact, Downs was pregnant when she was arrested in 1983 and gave birth to a child named Amy Elizabeth. The child was later renamed Rebecca Babcock by her adoptive parents. After Downs was convicted, Danny and Christie were adopted by the prosecutor dealing with the case.
Small Sacrifices: From Best-Seller to TV Movie
Fredrickson claims that he believes that the bushy-hairy man shot the children. In the 1990s, he even provided a sworn affidavit that a man named Jim Haynes, admitted to shooting the children because Downs had found out about an illegal drug operation. He wanted to teach her a lesson and make her suffer, Fredrickson said, according to OregonLive.
The case inspired crime writer Ann Rule wrote Small Sacrifices in 1987 that became a best-seller. The book had details of Downs' life and murder trial based on accounts by her friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and daughter Christie who had identified her as the shooter. Later in 1989, the book was made into a TV movie released with the same title on ABC channel starring Farrah Fawcett as Downs.
What is Diane Up To Now?
Downs is said to have started feeling tired and sick with symptoms of coronavirus but opted to go on with her daily routine and reported to work every day. But as her symptoms became severe, she was asked to rest. "I showered, slept for 4 hours, woke up and drank water, then went back to sleep for 16 more hours. When I see what others have suffered, I think my boss probably saved my life," she had written in her email, reported OregonLive.
In prison, she refurbished bicycles for underprivileged children. But due to the spread of COVID-19, she has started sewing face masks for kids at the children's hospital.
Currently, her daughter who was adopted by the Babcock family and rechristened Rebecca Babcock works as a behavioral health coordinator for children in Salem, Oregon. She is 35 now. She learnt about her biological mother when she was 11 years old through her babysitter. Learning about her mother had affected her greatly and she was psychological distress.
Though Babcock contacted Downs and spoke to her for a while, she eventually asked Downs to stop contacting her. Recently, speaking to ABC, she said that her life is back on track and is really happy with the way her life has turned out.