What Happened to Aileen Wuornos's Son?
As one of the most prolific female serial killers in history, the tragic and violent story of Aileen Wuornos is one which most true crime fans are familiar. The case of Aileen Wuornos is especially interesting because her early life planted the seeds that turned her violent.
A little-known fact about Wuornos is that she gave birth to a son at the age of 14 after a violent attack at the hands of a family friend. She gave her baby up for adoption. Since it was a closed adoption, not much is known about what happened to Aileen Wuornos child.
Planting the Seeds of Violence
Few serial killers succeed in instilling a feeling of sympathy the way the story of Aileen Wuornos is capable of doing. From the time she was born, her life was one filled with pain and abuse at the hands of those who should've protected her the most.
Born February 29, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan, Aileen Wuornos was brought into a world of tumultuous violence and instability. Her mother, Diane Wuornos married her father, Leo Pittman at the young age of 14.
Photo by: Jasmine Hirst
Two years later, after giving birth to a son and two months before Aileen came into the world, Diane filed for divorce and fled from Leo and his violent tendencies. Aileen never met her father as he was serving time for sex crimes against children when she was born. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic. In 1969, Leo Pittman hanged himself in his prison cell.
Quick note: If you want to learn more about Aileen Wuornos's life and criminal trial, you absolutely need to read this autobiography about Aileen. I could not stop reading this book once I started. Seriously. Ok, back to the article.
Having a rough upbringing doesn't necessarily mean one is destined to become a serial killer. Many people come from hard childhoods and go on to become successful, happy people. However, with the right combination of abuse and mental illness, bad things can grow. If there ever was a story where the listener can see the seeds of a violent future being planted, the story of Aileen Wuornos is it.
Raising a Serial Killer
When Aileen was only 4 years old, her mother Diane abandoned her young son and daughter with her parents. She was done parenting. Diane’s parents eventually legally adopted Aileen and her brother, Keith. According to Aileen, her grandfather was a horribly abusive man.
Aileen says he beat her after forcing her to remove her clothes. She claims her grandfather would also subject her to brutal sexual assaults from a very young age. By the time Aileen was 11 years old, she was trading sexual acts for food, cigarettes and drugs.
At the age of only 14 years old, Aileen Wuornos was raped by a friend of her alcoholic grandfather. She became pregnant. She was sent to live at a home for unwed mothers, as was a common solution for teen pregnancy at that time. On March 23, 1971, she gave birth to a baby boy. T
hat little boy was placed for adoption. Little else is known of what became of Aileen Wuornos son.
Aileen Wuornos Learns to Support Herself
After giving birth to her son, Aileen quit school. Her grandmother passed away from liver failure. Wuornos’s grandfather kicked her out of her home. At 15 years old, Aileen embraced the idea of using her body to support herself. She became a prostitute. She lived for a long period of time in the woods near Rochester, Michigan.
Aileen hitchhiked to Florida in 1976. She married a much older man, a yacht club president named Lewis Fell. Their wedded bliss didn't last, however. The marriage was annulled after 9 weeks with Fell claiming abuse and obtaining a restraining order against Aileen.
Aileen Wuornos bounced around between Michigan and Florida, committing a variety of lower level crimes including armed robbery, car theft, and passing forged checks. She spent time in and out of jail, never settling in one place for very long. At least not until she met the love of her life.
She Found Love
Aileen Wuornos met Tyria Moore, Ty for short, at a biker bar in 1986 while in Florida. The two quickly became a couple. Ty knew Aileen was a prostitute and is quoted saying she didn't approve, although Aileen supported both Ty and herself with the money she made.
It is reported that Ty knew of at least one of Aileen’s murders. Even though Ty was instrumental in the investigation and arrest of Wuornos, Aileen claimed Ty was the love of her life while she was awaiting her death sentence.
Forced to Kill?
Aileen committed the first in her string of murders in November of 1989. The man she killed, Richard Mallory was a convicted sex offender. Aileen Wuornos says he attacked and raped her, leaving her no option but to protect herself. She shot him with her favorite 22 caliber pistol. His car was found by a deputy sheriff two days after he was killed. His body was located in the woods near by.
Aileen Wuornos killed 6 more men. Men who picked her up thinking she was merely a prostitute. The murder of Richard Mallory is the only murder out of the seven committed between 1989 and 1990 that Aileen ever faced a trial for. She entered a plea of no contest for the remaining killings. It was enough to get her sentenced to death in 1992.
After spending a few years on death row at the Florida State Prison, Aileen was put to death on October 9, 2002. Her last words were "I'd just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I'll be back.”
Whether Aileen was a victim of circumstance and mental illness or just a twisted serial killer is up to each person to decide. The one truly good thing she did in her life was to give her son up for adoption and making that adoption a closed one. A closed adoption requires the interest of both the child and the mother to be opened.
Since Aileen is gone, Aileen Wuornos child will, hopefully, never know he came from the womb of one of the most dangerous women who ever lived. By giving him up for a closed adoption, Aileen was able to protect her son from the chaos she endured.
We know that Aileen Wuornos is forever cemented in history as a rare, female serial killer. But what happened to Aileen Wuornos child? We know he was conceived through a violent rape at the hands of her grandfather’s friend.
Aileen was only 14. She struggled to care for herself and couldn't take care of her son. She made the wisest decision is choosing to let another family adopt him.
Hopefully, the family that adopted Aileen Wuornos child never let him know who he came from. We can hope Aileen Wuornos son lives a happy, healthy life because of one of the good decisions she made during her tragic life.
By choosing adoption for her son, she put a stop to the cycle of violence that turned her into the monster she became.
*The image of Aileen Wuornos via Pinterest.