Diane Staudte, a mother of four, seemed to face the unspeakable when she found her husband, Mark, dead in bed after suffering from flu-like symptoms for a few days. Shortly afterward, her son, Shaun, was found dead on his bedroom floor after complaining of similar symptoms.
“We just thought it was a spate of bad luck,” Mark’s brother, Michael Staudte, told People Magazine.
When Diane’s daughter, Sarah, was hospitalized for organ failure after suffering similar symptoms as her father and brother, their family and friends were shocked, People reports.
According to ABC News, authorities thought that Mark and Shaun had died from natural causes, but when they received an anonymous call about how Diane may have played a role in Mark and Shaun’s deaths, authorities became suspicious.
When the authorities brought in Diane, she ended up confessing for murdering her husband and son. According to Cosmopolitan, she told the police that she “hated [her husband's guts [because] he would throw things at [her and] he would throw things at [their] kids.” She told authorities that she had had enough, and so she put antifreeze in his drinks.
Diane told police that she put antifreeze in her son’s drinks as well. According to Cosmopolitan, Shaun was “diagnosed with autism and had a history of seizures” and he was a burden to her. She tried to kill Sarah because “she had crushing student debt but lived at home without a job.”
However, when police found Diane’s daughter Rachel’s diary, which contained entries about helping her mother kill her father and brother, the police approached her about it, Cosmopolitan reports. Rachel confessed to helping her mother with the plan.
Diane and Rachel pleaded guilty in the murders and attempted murder. Earlier this year, Diane was sentenced to life in prison without parole, People reports. Rachel was sentenced to two life terms, but she is eligible for parole when she turns 65 years old.
Sarah, who survived the antifreeze poisoning despite suffering neurological damage, said, “I forgive my mom for what she did to me. But she not only took away my dad and brother, but she took away my lifestyle, livelihood and my independence.”