Genene Jones: a truly monstrous paediatric nurse who murdered as many as 47 babies and children entrusted to her care.
Glennon Engleman:a rather unconventional dentist who moonlighted as a hitman and murder-for-profit killer.
Michael Swango: a deadly doctor who took genuine pleasure in poisoning his patients and colleagues. Killed at least 60 in an intercontinental murder spree.
The Lainz Angels of Death: four lethal nurses who turned the geriatric ward at an Austrian hospital into their private killing field.
Gwendolyn Graham & Cathy Wood: lesbian lovers who got their kicks by suffocating the elderly patients under their care.
Teet Haerm: police pathologist who spent his nights hunting prostitutes in Stockholm, Sweden. Haerm actually performed autopsies on many of the women he’d killed.
Orville Lynn Majors: an ICU nurse with a deep-seated hatred for his elderly patients, Majors is suspected of over 100 murders.
Kimberly Saenz: addicted to prescription drugs and with her life falling apart around her, Saenz struck out at helpless patients, injecting them with bleach.
Donald Harvey: dubbed the “Angel of Death,” Harvey killed at least seventy hospital patients by suffocation, poisoning, drug overdoses and other methods.
Thomas Neill Cream: London's East End had barely recovered from Jack the Ripper when Dr. Cream arrived on the scene, dispensing agonizing death with his special little pills.
On Friday, September 17, 1982, Petti McClellan brought her eight-month-old daughter, Chelsea, to the pediatric clinic in Kerrville, Texas. Chelsea was not seriously ill, but she had a cold, and having been born prematurely, with underdeveloped lungs, her mother thought it better to be safe than sorry. The Kerrville clinic had opened just a day earlier. Chelsea McClellan was it's very first patient.
While Dr. Kathleen Holland discussed Chelsea’s condition with the mother, pediatric nurse, Genene Jones, took the child to another area of the clinic to play. Soon after, the nurse’s cries alerted them to a problem – Chelsea had stopped breathing. Jones placed an oxygen mask over the baby’s face and they rushed her to the emergency room at Sid Peterson Hospital. To everyone’s relief, Chelsea recovered. It seemed that the quick-thinking Jones had saved Chelsea’s life and her grateful parents were soon singing the nurse’s praises around town.
Nine months later, the McClellans had cause to bring Chelsea to the clinic again, just for a routine check-up this time. Dr. Holland prescribed two standard inoculations, but shortly after nurse Jones administered the first shot, Chelsea started having difficulty breathing. It appeared that she was having a seizure, so a frantic Mrs. McClellan told the nurse to stop. Jones ignored the instruction and gave the second injection, after which the child stopped breathing altogether.
Chelsea was rushed by ambulance to Sid Peterson Hospital, with Jones cradling the baby in her arms all the way. In the ambulance, the child’s breathing stalled again and her heart stopped. All attempts to revive her failed. Chelsea McClellan was pronounced dead on arrival at Sid Peterson Hospital.
Jones herself carried the child’s body downstairs to the hospital morgue, sobbing hysterically. She seemed to take the death personally, but a comment made to Dr. Holland after they returned to the clinic seemed at odds with that. Jones said: “And they said there wouldn’t be any excitement when we came to Kerrville.”
Dr. Holland, meanwhile, was utterly bewildered by the sudden death of a seemingly healthy child. While the grief-stricken parents prepared to bury their daughter, she requested an autopsy. The results offered scant relief. Chelsea had died of SIDS, an often-fatal breathing dysfunction in babies.
One week after the funeral of Chelsea McClellan, there was a strange incident involving Genene Jones. Petti McClellan was visiting her daughter’s grave at the Garden of Memories Cemetery. As she approached, she saw Jones kneeling at the grave rocking back and forth and wailing Chelsea’s name over and over. Petti asked her what she was doing there, but Jones gave her a blank stare and walked off without saying a word. Petti thought the behavior peculiar, but dealing with her own grief, she let it go.
Genene Jones never knew her biological parents. Born on July 13, 1950, she was immediately adopted by Dick and Gladys Jones, a wealthy couple from San Antonio, Texas. The Jones’ also adopted three other children – two older and one younger than Genene. Dick Jones was a mover and shaker, a businessman and professional gambler who operated several nightclubs. He was gregarious, extravagant and generous with his money. By all accounts the Jones’ doted on their adopted brood and life in the household was certainly never dull.
Despite this, Genene would later describe her childhood as unhappy. She considered herself the “black sheep” of the family and said that her parents favored the other children over her. She also felt isolated and disliked at school, mainly because she was overweight, she said. Former classmates tell a different story. They say she was aggressive, untrustworthy, bossy and manipulative, a compulsive liar who often feigned illness to get attention.
When Genene was 16, her brother and closest friend, Travis, was constructing a pipe bomb in his father’s workshop when it blew up in his face, killing him instantly. Genene was devastated, but her performance at the funeral, screaming and throwing herself to the floor, seemed contrived, designed to get attention. A year later, her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Dick Jones died shortly after Christmas 1967. Once again Genene’s response was bizarre. She insisted to her mother that she wanted to leave school and get married immediately, in order to alleviate the pain.
Gladys Jones managed to dissuade Genene from the idea, but shortly after graduating high school, she did marry. Her husband was James “Jimmy” Delany, a high school dropout who enlisted in the navy shortly after the nuptials were completed. Left on her own for long periods, Genene began indulging her voracious sexual appetite by conducting affairs with several men, some of them married. She openly boasted about these relationships and also started spreading stories about being sexually abused as a child.
Then tragedy struck the Jones family again. Genene’s older brother died of cancer. In typical self-centered fashion, she developed a morbid fear that she would contract the disease herself. At the time, she was working in a beauty salon, but she soon quit that job, convinced that she would contract cancer from the hair dyes she handled. Not long after, she enrolled on a yearlong course to become a vocational nurse.
Genene emerged with an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) qualification and a burning passion for her knew vocation. Even though an LVN is at the bottom of the nursing totem she began presenting herself as an expert on all things medical. She made a habit of diagnosing friends and acquaintances on the spot, whether they asked her to or not.
By this time, Genene’s marriage to Jimmy Delany had failed and she had a young child to support, with another on the way. She also had her first nursing job - at San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital.
By all accounts, Genene Jones was a good nurse. But, from early in her medical career, there were worrying signs. After just eight months at Methodist, she was fired for making decisions in areas where she had no authority. Her next job also lasted only a few months. It seemed Jones had learned nothing from her previous problems - she was fired again, and for the same reason. Which brought her to the pediatric unit at Bexar County Medical Center. Jones would enjoy a longer tenure here - and leave a bloody imprint.
The first child to die in the care of Genene Jones did not die by her hand, but from complications after surgery to address an intestinal problem. Jones responded with an over-the-top display of grief, which her colleagues found difficult to understand. She’d hardly known the child.
But the other nurses soon learned that Jones had a desperate need for attention and that the grief was not for the dead child, but rather to garner sympathy for herself. They also realized that she wanted desperately to be needed and would go out of her way to create little dramas that required her “personal attention.” Jones also carried on her habit of overstepping her authority, sometimes overriding doctor’s orders to do what she believed was right for the child.
Inevitably, this led to mistakes, many of which might have constituted grounds for dismissal. But Jones had acquired an ally in head nurse Pat Belko, who often covered for her. With Belko to protect her, Jones grew increasingly arrogant, aggressive and foul-mouthed. She enjoyed bragging about her sexual exploits and took to bullying new nurses, more than one of whom resigned because of her.
But it was her attitude towards her young patients that upset her colleagues most. She liked making predictions about which baby would die next. If a child’s health appeared to be failing, she would announce to the other nurses, “Tonight is the night.” She’d become extremely excited by the emergency procedures in trying to save a child’s life, then respond with extravagant grief when the patient died. She also seemed to enjoy calling the parents to let them know that their child had passed away.
And children did die, seven over one two-week period, many of them from conditions that should not have been fatal, most on the three-to-eleven shift, Genene Jones’ shift, the shift other nurses called the “Death Shift.”
In 1981, six-month-old Jose Antonio Flores was admitted with minor symptoms - fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Under Jones’ care, he suddenly began suffering seizures and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors fighting to save his life noticed internal bleeding and realized that his blood wasn’t clotting. Still, they managed to stabilize him. Then Jones came back on duty at three the following day and Jose again went into seizure and started bleeding. Early the next morning, his little heart stopped beating. An autopsy would later indicate an overdose of heparin, an anticoagulant drug.
When a three-month-old boy developed similar symptoms, a doctor confronted Jones and asked her about the heparin in his system. She angrily denied any knowledge and stormed out. Thereafter, the child recovered and no action was taken against Jones, although stricter controls were put in place over the use of the drug.
In November 1981, the head of the pediatrics ward, Dr. James Robotham, raised concerns about Genene Jones with hospital administrators. They decided that the hospital didn’t need the publicity of an inquiry and told Robotham he was overreacting.
Soon after, Joshua Sawyer, 11 months old, was brought in suffering the effects of smoke inhalation. The boy was comatose, but doctors fully expected him to recover. That is until he suffered a heart attack and died. Lab tests showed a lethal amount of the drug Dilantin in his system, but no one saw fit to report this to the authorities. Again, Dr. Robotham asked that Jones be dismissed. Again he was ignored.
The next suspicious incident to occur at Bexar involved Rolando Santos, a one-month-old being treated for pneumonia. He suddenly started having seizures, went into cardiac arrest, and suffered extensive unexplained bleeding. When Jones was off for three days Rolando’s condition improved markedly. When she returned to duty, he began hemorrhaging again and suffered another heart attack. Eventually, he lapsed into a coma. Fortunately, a doctor intervened and had him removed from the pediatric unit. The little boy then made a full recovery, and the doctor who had treated him added his voice to Robotham’s, calling for an inquiry. Amazingly, the hospital still refused.
It would take the death of another child before they were forced to take action. Even then, they refused an inquiry, deciding instead that all Licensed Vocational Nurses on the pediatric unit should be replaced with higher qualified, Registered Nurses. This meant that Jones would no longer be able to care for children. She resigned in disgust. The hospital, no doubt, was glad to see her go.
It didn’t take long for Genene Jones to find another job. In 1982, Dr. Kathleen Holland opened a pediatrics clinic in Kerrville, Texas. Dr. Holland had worked with Jones at Bexar County Hospital, had, in fact, stood up for her when the accusations were flying. Dr. Holland believed Jones to be a competent nurse who just needed a second chance. She employed Jones as her assistant and gave her the title, Pediatric Clinician. It was a decision she’d soon have cause to regret.
Within its first two months of operation, seven children suffered seizures at the Kerrville clinic. Kathleen Holland seemed to see nothing unusual in this disturbing pattern, but the doctors at Sid Peterson Hospital soon became suspicious, especially as the patients always recovered after receiving treatment at the hospital.
Around the time that Chelsea McClellan died, a doctor at Sid Peterson learned about the high number of infant deaths at Bexar, while Genene Jones had worked there. He brought this to the attention of a committee, and they called Dr. Holland in. They asked if she was using succinylcholine, a powerful muscle relaxant, which had been found in the blood samples of children transferred from her clinic. Dr. Holland replied that she had some, but had never used it.
Shaken by her experience, Dr. Holland returned to her office where she checked on her supply of succinylcholine. She noticed immediately that the bottles had been tampered with, the original contents extracted and replaced with saline. She confronted Jones with the evidence, but the nurse was evasive and even suggested they throw the bottle away to avoid suspicion. After Dr. Holland discovered that another bottle of succinylcholine had been ordered but was missing, she fired Jones and contacted investigators, offering her full co-operation in any inquiry.
Genene Jones was brought to trial for the murder of Chelsea McClellan in February 1982. She was found guilty and sentenced to 99 years in prison. In November that year, she was sentenced to an additional 60 years for injuring Rolando Santos by injecting him with an undisclosed drug.
Jones will be eligible for mandatory parole in 2017, by which time she will be 66. Although suspected in the deaths of 47 more children, she was never charged with those murders.
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