This is one of the books I picked up from the library "discard" shelf. The pages have gotten wet at some point (I hope it was water), so I thought it would be good for reading by the pool. It wouldn't matter if I drip a little more water on it.
"While Innocents Slept", by Adrian Havill. It's a true crime story about Garrett Wilson, a man who was convicted of murdering his infant son to collect life insurance money, and is also suspected in the death of his baby daughter, also heavily insured, during a previous marriage. He hasn't been tried for that crime yet.
These murders took place in the 1980's. At that time many unexplained deaths of infants and toddlers were blamed on "SIDS" or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, so no detective work or crime scene investigations were carried out. That's what happened in these cases. Autopsies were done but the babies had been healthy and normal. Difficult for the examiner to determine why they stopped breathing so the official cause of death was marked "SIDS".
Strangely enough, although both baby's mothers suspected Wilson of murdering his own offspring, neither of them voiced their suspicions to the authorities. In fact, wife number two stayed married to him for 6 more years.
It wasn't until 10 years after the death of her son that wife number two finally went to the authorities. This was after she learned that Wilson had remarried and had a baby daughter, and she feared that Wilson might murder his new child.
She had a difficult time getting anyone to take her seriously since she had waited so long, but she was persistent and Wilson was tried and convicted to life in prison without parole.
There are more details in the book to round out the story about Garrett Wilson's life...his parents, his musical talent, his sales ability, his theft from employers, his knack for charming women and keeping a string of girlfriends...at one point, going away to marry one woman just as another woman was sending out their wedding invitations. Quite the prize, apparently.
One thing that seems strange to me, is that wife number two claimed not to know about $150,000 in insurance policies on the life of her baby son. Yet she didn't ask any questions as they spent the money on a new home, vacations, and jewelry. Surely she must have wondered where the money came from.
This is a pretty good true crime book, but you can just about read the whole sordid story online, so I wouldn't really recommend reading the book.
Especially this particular copy with the wrinkled, mystery-stained pages!