Pedicide revisited. The slaughter continues

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1991 Mar;12(1):16-26. doi: 10.1097/00000433-199103000-00003.


Pedicide, a reliable indicator of interpersonal violence and severe child abuse, has risen in Cuyahoga County (Metropolitan Cleveland), Ohio, U.S.A., over the past quarter of a century, paralleling or exceeding the increase in adult homicide. However, neonaticides have decreased, a phenomenon mirroring a marked fall in fatal maternal criminal abortions. As previously noted, modalities of lethal violence in pedicide are significantly determined by victim age. An increasing proportion of pedicide victims, like their adult counterparts, have been killed by firearms. Pedicide victims are much apt to be killed by close relatives than are adult homicide victims. Similarly, perpetrators of pedicide are much more likely to commit suicide than are their adult-slaying counterparts. Fatally "battered" children, the victims of multiple, metasynchronous traumata, represent a significant fraction (22%) of the overall pedicide population and constitute a segment of the victims with a potential for being saved by intervention. Overall, pedicide remains a challenge to our profession and a threat to society as a whole.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / epidemiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Ohio / epidemiology