Marie Noe [The Killer Mom] Serial Killer Case Study: Victim, Pattern, Motive

Full NameMarie Noe
Alias nameThe Philly Mom, Marie Lyddy
Number of victims8 known victims
Span of crime1949 – 1968
Type of crimeSmothering
Modus operandiWhen the babies cried, she’d suffocate them with a soft pillow to cease the crying.
TraitsSerial killer, psychotic, Maternal filicide
Conviction statusSentenced to 20 years of probation with the first five years of house arrest. Died on 5th May 2016.

Why is Marie Noe called a Serial killer?

Marie Noe was an American woman who was convicted of murdering eight of her children in June 1999.

Eight of Marie’s ten children died of mysterious causes, which were attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

It was later discovered that Marie was the one who smothered her children to death using a pillow or any soft object. She possibly suffocate eight of her children (but only confessed to 4 deaths; check how she caught the section).

  • Common Forensic Medical Terms related to Infant death:
    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death, crib death, sudden unexplained infant death, SUID) is defined as the sudden death of a healthy infant whose age is less than 1 year.
    • Simultaneous sudden infant death syndrome (SSIDS): Unexplained death of 2 or more infants takes place within 24hr.

Why Marie Killed Her Own 8 Children?

Young Marie had a psychotic personality and was never too ready to have children, unlike her devoted husband Arthur Allen. She wasn’t really attached to any of her children and got irritated by their loud cries.

Furthermore, one of her pregnancies was complicated, and she suffered a uterine rupture.

This irritates her even more………….. and may be the reason for more hatred for their newborns.

Whenever she heard loud noises or saw her children cry, she would shout “shut up” or “quiet” to them. And when she can’t control herself, she uses a soft pillow to suffocate her infants.

Between 1949 to 1968, eight out of ten of her children died suspiciously which was later revealed in her confession.

She says………..

“He was always crying. He couldn’t tell me what was bothering him. He just kept crying…there was a pillow under his face…I took my hand and pressed his face down into the pillow until he stopped moving.”

Confession by Marie Noe

Pattern of Killing: How Marie Noe Killed Her Children?

She heard crying, She stopped it permanently.

As per Marie’s confession or investigator reports, at least four of her children were killed by her using soft cushions. She covered their children’s mouths with pillows and made them suffocate.

However, there is more than one type and pattern seen in the killing. One of the odd ones is the use of the umbilical cord to suffocate the newborn.

Read More: A Bitter Pill to Swallow Forensic Files Case Study: Maynard Muntzing & Michelle Story

What’s Expert Says about Marie Noe’s Behavior?

She used to call doctors about her children’s health and show concern for them. However, the reality is diametrically opposite. As per many experts, Marie Noe might have done this to gain attention.

Many experts considered her as:

  • Neonaticide (parents murdered their own newborn within 24 hrs),
  • Infanticide (killing of a young child under the age of 12 months), and
  • Maternal filicide (a mother who kills her child).

List of Victims/Infants of Marie Noe Killer

#VictimsName of VictimsYearAge of Victim
1.Richard Allan NoeMarch 7, 1949–April 7, 19491m
2.Elizabeth Mary NoeSeptember 8, 1950–February 17, 19515m
3.Jacqueline NoeApril 23, 1952–May 3, 1952,1m
4.Arthur Jr. NoeApril 23, 1955–April 28, 1955<1m
5.Constance NoeFebruary 24, 1958–March 20, 19581m
6.Letitia NoeStillborn, August 24, 1959; Umbilical cord knot<1m
7.Mary Lee NoeJune 19, 1962–January 4, 19636m
8.Theresa NoeDied in hospital, June 1963; (congenital hemorrhagic diathesis)<1m
9.Catherine E. NoeDecember 3, 1964–February 24, 19662m
10.Arthur Joseph Jr. NoeJuly 28, 1967–January 2, 19685m
Infants means children whose age is less than one year.

How does Marie Noe Get Caught? What Forensic Evidence Against her?

No one knows or suspects that Marie Noe was the maternal filicide (a mother who kills her child) until a book titled “The Death of Innocents” in 1988 and an investigative article in Philadelphia magazine described the woman.

In both pieces, the source only shared the virtue of the incident, not the name.

No one knows that it was the story of Marie Noe. But, it finally ends.

Soon after, authorities took action and began investigating the source.

When questioned by the authorities, Marie admitted to suffocating four of her children. She also stated that she had no idea what happened to the other four children who died in similar circumstances.

Read More: Charlene And Brian Hummert [A Tight Leash] Forensic File Case Study

How did Noe’s Childhood & Early life Change her to be a Serial Killer?

Marie Lyddy (Marie Noe) was raised with several siblings. Her parents, Ella and James Lyddy had a troubled marriage.

When five, she was affected by scarlet fever, which caused her to have learning difficulties.

Later, when twelve, instead of studying, she dropped out of school to work and care for one of her older sisters’ babies. And she might have had a horrible experience caring for a baby at a young age.

There are also reports that Marie suffered from a mixed personality disorder.

So, these are the probable reasons why she got irritated by her own children and became Maternal filicide.

Read Similar Case: Darlie Routier [Forensic Files] Invisible Intruder Case Study


  • The Death of Innocents, [book].
  • Marie NOE, [Murderpedia].
  • Philadelphia magazine, [Article 1], [Article 2]
  • Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America’s Unknown Child By David Stout [Book]
  • Engendered Death: Pennsylvania Women who Kill by Joseph W. Laythe [Book]
  • Table source, [Wikiwand]

Read More: