A woman suspected of trying to strangle her 2-year-old son has confessed to her mother that she drowned two of her infants and smothered a third, the first when she was just 14.
Claudette Kibble, 23, was charged with murder Friday in the 1990 suffocation of 9-month-old Quinten Kibble. She was not charged in the other deaths because she was a minor at the time, authorities said.
Investigators had long suspected foul play in the death of Quinten, the 1988 death of 8-month-old Edward and the 1986 death of 1-year-old Joshua, born when Kibble was 13, but they couldn’t prove anything until this week, when she confessed to her mother, who contacted authorities.
“I want you to know this is horrifying. It’s a living nightmare,” said Judy Hay, a spokeswoman for state Child Protective Services. “From the very beginning we were suspicious … Without evidence, particularly a medical examiner’s report, the hands begin to be tied.”
In all three cases, Kibble had taken the child to a hospital, claiming he was suffering from seizures. The Harris County medical examiner’s office ruled that two of the deaths were caused by seizures and left the third undetermined.
Cecil Wingo, chief investigator for the medical examiner’s office, said his office has reopened the case several times since 1990 at the request of prosecutors, but the children bore no signs of abuse that would allow officials to prove Kibble had harmed them.
“We knew that something was wrong. We just didn’t know where to go to find out,” Wingo said. “We don’t have a crystal ball.”
On Tuesday, Kibble admitted drowning Joshua and Edward and suffocating Quinten with a pillow. Police refused to discuss any motive she may have given.
Kibble already is in custody on a charge of attempting to strangle 2-year-old Calvin.A judge Friday ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine if she is fit to stand trial. Calvin and his 6-year-old sister, Quintenett, have been in state custody since July 1994, not long after Kibble took Calvin to a hospital.