Murderous Children: Rachel Pittman (16) Murdered a Mother & Two Children
An unexpected suspect...
It All Began With a Not-So Accidental House Fire...
It was a house fire that police and emergency services were responding to on May 11th, 2011, in rural Redwater, Texas, but the police quickly realized that something was just not right when the arrived at the scene.
The bodies of 34-year-old Amanda Doss, and her two children; 11-year-old Guinevere Doss and 8-year-old Texas Johnson, were pulled from the burning home on that day. Incredibly, the parents of Amanda Doss arrived at the scene before emergency services, responding to a phone call from their granddaughter Guinevere screaming for help, and were able to pull the body of Guinevere out of the house, sustaining burn injuries of their own that had to be treated at the hospital. Unfortunately, she was already dead by that time. They they watched as the house burned to the ground, knowing their daughter and grandson were still inside. Although the victims were so badly burnt that their injuries were not immediately evident, gut instinct told the responding officers that these deaths were not a result of an accidental house fire. Once they started investigating the scene, what they found only furthered their suspicions.
After autopsies were performed on the bodies, their suspicions were confirmed; all three had died from violent injuries inflicted prior to the fire. All three of the victims had been stabbed to death before the house was set ablaze. The fire, which was now determined to have been arson, was only set in an attempt to mislead police, and cover up evidence. Detectives realized that there was a seriously brutal murderer on the loose, and unfortunately, they had no real suspects. After months of investigation, and over $145,000 in reward money offered, they were still no closer to solving this tragic and heinous crime. It was a tip that was called in to police that would lead them to the killer.
Even after the smoldering remains of the house were confirmed as arson, and the community realized that this was no tragic accident, but a cold-blooded a brutal multiple-murder, no one seemed to have any idea who could have committed such a horrid crime, or why anyone would have wanted to murder Amanda, Guinevere, and Texas. No one would ever have suspected who the culprit was; a 16-year-old girl. Almost as shocking as the identity of the killer was the identity of the person who turned her in; Rachel Pittman was turned in to police by her own mother.
What Happened & Why?
After 16-year-old Pittman was arrested, and the immediate shock wore off, the question on everyone's mind was simple, and just one word: why?
Unfortunately, at this point, the public does not have an answer. Due to the circumstances of the case, a judge has placed a gag order, so not much information has been officially released to the public. The only facts we do know: Rachel Pittman knew the victims, although no motive has been has been disclosed to the public due to the gag order. The Dodds have publicly elaborated on that to say that Rachel was a family friend, who worked for Amanda and babysat the children. Pittman lived just a few miles away from the Doss home.
In August, over three months after the crime, Rachel confessed to her mother. Her mother, who was obviously very upset, then called police and recounted her daughter's confession. Rachel then went willingly with the police to the station, where she again confessed, telling them details about the murders that had not been made public. They said evidence found at the scene backed up her confession; including cartridge casings, a pocket knife, hair and blood samples. She was then arrested, and charged with capital murder.
The fact that there is a gag order does not stop conjecture and rumours from spreading. A potentially important, and case changing rumour; although Rachel has been the only person arrested and charged in this case, many people believe did not act alone. People find it hard to believe that this was solely the act of a 16-year-old girl; they believe someone else had to be involved. The disbelief isn't just expressed by people who knew Rachel; even friends and neighbours of the victims have questioned if Rachel could possibly have acted alone.
Amongst the rumours, there are stories of a mystery woman who pressured her into it, and/or threatened Rachel's family to force her co-operation. There are stories of a failed polygraph by someone else who was interrogated by police. There are stories that the prosecutor and police are aware that other people were involved, but are ignoring that fact in order to "wrap up" the case.
Police, on the other hand, have stated that the evidence indicates otherwise; Rachel Pittman, they say, acted alone when she brutally murdered Amanda Doss and her children. A detective on the case has stated that they do not expect to make any more arrests. It doesn't appear that Rachel herself has accused anyone else of being involved, or indicated to police that she was in any way coerced to kill the Doss family. Unless another arrest is made, or until the facts come out in trial, rumours will continue to hover over this case.
The Trial, Sentencing & Verdict
While initially arrested as a juvenile, which meant that her name was not released to the public, prosecutors successfully petitioned the court, and Rachel Nicole Pittman was officially charged as an adult, and indicted with three counts of capital murder on February 9th, 2012.
Rachel, now 17 years old, was arraigned in court on February 17th, 2012, where she pleaded not guilty to three counts of capital murder in the deaths of Rachel Doss, and her children, Guinevere and Texas. Though she is being tried as an adult, she will still be subject to special sentencing as a juvenile. While an adult can face the death penalty in Texas, Pittman will not be subject to that sentencing. Instead, if convicted, she faces a sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
Pittman is next scheduled to appear in court in April of 2012 for a pretrial hearing. No official trial date has yet been set. Please check back in the future for further updates as the case progresses and the trial moves forward.
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