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Nearly 5 babies killed weekly, FBI data show

June 27, 1997
Web posted at: 7:05 p.m. EDT (2305 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly five infants under the age of 1 are killed in the United States each week, according to a CNN review of FBI statistics.

In the wake of several highly publicized cases of apparent infant slayings, government officials and crime experts say there is little reliable information on the extent of the crime, but FBI figures provide some measure of it.

Infant slaying rates

The report is based on 1995 numbers, the most recent available, and shows 249 infants were killed that year.

The number of infants killed has remained relatively constant since 1990, ranging from a high of 304 in 1991 to 249 in 1995, according to a CNN review of FBI data for the past six years.

The statistics indicate the gender and race of the victims, but provide no information on who committed the crimes, or what the motives were for the killings.

In each of the years for which statistics were reviewed, the number of male infant victims has significantly exceeded the number of female infants slain.

Melissa Drexler

In 1995, 139 of the babies killed were males; 110 were females. The disparity was even more dramatic in 1994, when 150 baby boys were killed compared to 107 girls.

The racial breakdown shows Caucasian infants outnumbered African-American victims roughly 3-to-2 in each of the past six years.

In 1995, 149 white infants and 90 black infants were found killed. In 1990, the numbers were 159 white babies and 98 black babies.

Among the recent cases making headlines, Melissa Drexler of Freehold, New Jersey, was charged Tuesday with murder and endangering a child in the death of the infant boy she delivered, then allegedly asphyxiated, at her high school prom.


And Bergen, New Jersey, high school sweethearts Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson are charged with murder in Delaware in the November death of their newborn son. They do not deny disposing of him in a motel dumpster, but deny fracturing his skull.


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