Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Pro-Afterlife Mother Slays Own Child

Thanks to BlackSun for posting about this first and bringing it to my attention.

Dawn Serrena Young recently joined Dena Schlosser, Andrea Yates, and other women of faith in what I have decided to call The Offspring Murder Club. Congratulations Dawn in murdering your own daughter. You are part of a very exclusive club that requires enormous amounts of religious conviction in order to join.

As I've noted before, Religiosity is more common among mothers who kill their children. While Christians have definitely taken the points lead in the The Offspring Murder Club, Dawn Serrena Young has literally burst onto the scene and made a strong showing with her blend of Voodoo and Santeria. Will the Christians be able to maintain their lead, or will they be eclipsed before the end of the year?

Read this snip... its so messed up:

A Eugene woman has told police that she killed her 17-month-old daughter to protect the baby from spirits.

Young was arrested Nov. 23 after she crashed her pickup truck into parked cars at a Red Bluff lumber store. Police found her covered in blood from self-inflicted chest wounds.

She later confessed to killing Ruby by suffocating her with her hand, police have said. She led Red Bluff detectives to an area near the Sacramento River, where Ruby's body was found.

I think Dawn missed the bulletin that said suffocating your own child is not an effective means of protecting it. Imagine a secular version of this logic, "Hey son, I have to protect you from the influence of drugs and gangs and bullies, so I'm going to shoot you in the head."

Now I want to get serious. The problem here is that these people believe in religions that claim that there is an afterlife dimension; an existence after or beyond this one, and that entities can move between the two. Dena Schlosser, Andrea Yates, and Dawn Serrena Young all shared the same delusion: They didn't understand that death = death. These women all believe that their children are still in existence in another dimension known as the afterlife.

Afterlife ideologies literally redefine the word "death" because they remove the state of non-existence from it. To pro-afterlifers, death no longer means the termination of a consciousness, but the transportation of it to another realm. The word "death" loses its power and meaning, and instead becomes a mere transition. I hope that I've stressed this enough at the risk of redundancy, because it is vital to understand it. I think that if you closely examine the phrase, "life after death," the contradictory nature of the afterlife becomes quite clear.

Now I would like to finish off this post with a call to all of my blog readers who are proficient with Photoshop. I need a JPG image in the shape of a banner or bumper sticker that says "Kill the afterlife, not children." As far as backgrounds go, I'm open to most anything. Maybe some color transition looking thing, or some kind of image would be cool too as long as it doesn't distract too much from the text. I really hope someone is up to the task, because if not, then I will have to make it myself and I already know that it won't be a pretty sight. Can anyone help me out?


Francois Tremblay said...

I submitted your idea to

Anonymous said...

I just think belief in the afterlife is denial of the existence of death, plain and simple.

Delta said...

Good post, it's sad that these people don't realize what they're doing to their children and of course it sucks the most for the children involved.

DUB said...

More than just belittling death, religious belief in an afterlife comes complete with the notion that these children are BETTER OFF.

Thoroughly disgusting, but, once the obvious conditions of their potential life on Earth are examined and taken into consideration, I can't help but agree.

That they're better off dead, not that they're in Heaven (or Hell).

Anonymous said...

While I agree that when we die, that's it, I find it interesting that you chose to leave out the bipolar aspect. This woman was hearing voices. She believed that these spirits were abusing her daughter, she isn't a sane person. Most religious zealots would not take the same path as this woman, instead they go off and start wars.

breakerslion said...

As I always say when confronted with this sort of news:

Too many loonies, not enough bin.

Anon: Yeah, sure, she was bipolar, but did she go to a doctor and say, "I hear voices"? NO! She believed the purveyors of Mumbo and Jumbo and concluded that they were spirits (spoooooky! Booga booga). You have to learn that crap somewhere. There are about a million outlets pumping out that baloney on a daily basis, from church to any of the bullshit psychics that pollute the airwaves. They all do it for one basic underlying reason: a human mind that accepts a logical contradiction will stop thinking. People that don't think are more likely to impulsively reach into their wallets and give you money.

If you ever get to a Reniassance fair that has a mud show, go see it, and keep your eyes open. You will learn much about the psychology of religious denominations (us versus them), church services, and infomercials. It's all right there, and two muddy guys will show you how it works.

Aaron Kinney said...


I think Beakerslion madea good point.

See, this woman may have genuinely been crazy in the head, but that ALONE is not enough to kill ones own daughter. You need to have some kind of validation for those crazy thoughts: in other words, she has to think those thoughts are REAL and not acknowledge that she is sick.

Now if this woman wasnt so enamored with voodoo and santeria, then she probably wouldnt have thought that her thoughts were legitimate and that her daughter needed to die. The study that I linked states that psychosis, when combined with religion, cause things like this to happen that wouldnt have happened if religion didnt play a factor.

Religion is the catalyst that puts crazy thouhts over the edge into crazy actions.

Aethlos said...

i am SO in love with your blog... so fucking in love with your blog!!!!!!

Aaron Kinney said...

Thanx aethlos! I will keep bringing the love as often as I can.

Anonymous said...

I happen to have been personally involved with this woman. She WAS going to doctors. She WAS taking medication. She WAS going to therapy. She WAS active in support groups. She was a college student and she was a taking parenting classes. Ruby was well cared for and a happy and beautiful child. She was in day care 5 days a week at the college, and Dawn made every effort to keep her safe for as long as she was capable. It was the issue of safety that created this mess. Dawn did not feel safe in this world, and the responsibility of keeping someone so fragile safe when you yourself are not sure that it can be done is a daunting task. Dawn had a fear ingrained SO deeply within her-before she had Ruby, before she learned about voo-doo and santerria, and before I met her 8 years ago. She was coping with not only chemical imbalance, sexual abuse from an early age, and post-partum depression, she was trying to raise a daughter alone on a limited income in a world that could really give a crap whether you make it or not. Some people do not. Religion is often the way that people are able to experience love, connection and unity. Whatever your concept of life and/or afterlife, religion is a way to connect with others. Sometimes the fear overshadows even the most loving of intentions. Blaming her religious beliefs is making excuses for the fact that we do not know how to cope with mental illness-PLAIN AND SIMPLE.
It is easy to make light of things that you do not understand. It is simple for you to break this down to black and white when you have no concept of what shaped this individual. She is a human being just like the rest of us-just trying to get along. None of us who knew her could have predicted this outcome, though we all knew that she was afraid that something might happen to her or Ruby. As the mother of two, I understand how frightening it can be to have someone depend on you for everything. It is not possible to go back and change things . The only thing we can do is show a little compassion for others whether they subscribe to our beliefs or not. If this is the only life we get, then we should try to make it better for ourselves and others, not ridicule them in order to make ourselves look somehow wiser. I believe they refer to that as "Holier than Thou"-Funny that you do not subscribe to religion, yet you are here gathering a group of people who believe as you do-This is the very nature of the beast.
Where was the father in all of this? He was responsible for more than just fertilizing the egg-he, and members of his family and religion fertilized her already fragile imagination with the idea that they could control her simply by "holding a piece of her soul in a jar". Their relationship ended once she found out she was pregnant. Ironically, she did not believe abortion was an answer. She moved far away and hoped to escape the hold she was convinced he had on her. Obviously it was not far enough. Wherever you go-there you are.
While it is true that many religions create zealots and help people "rationalize" insanity, usually the insanity is already there and religion just gives them a language to describe something that is otherwise unexplainable. She DID know something was wrong and she was trying to get help. This happened over Thanksgiving break, she was able to have enough time alone with her thoughts to let them finally overtake her-and sadly-Ruby.
Be thankful that it is not a part of your reality to cope with this kind of tragedy. Be mindful of the fact that there are people (like me) who are doing their best to see that this type of thing doesn't happen, and go on helping others even when it does. Chances are that you will be faced with more than one situation in your lifetime where mental illness plays a part. Will you be able to be so flippant when it is staring you in the eyes? What can you do to make this world safer? What have you done for the children around you?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, beautiful person, for your message. I was going to reply in kind, but you said all I would have and more. I have written to Serena and offered her my prayers, love, and support. I also pray for Ruby and realize that it could have just as easily been me, were I to have not found help and the grace of God and others. Thanks for reminding us that we are all children of God and thanks for reminding us what gifts humility and compassion bring. Blessings to you. I pray the other folks on this website will take your sharing to heart.

Anonymous said...

It is outrageous how Arron Kinney puts Dawn Serena Young in the category of a "religious" mother. I knew her and knew Ruby as well.

It is an extremely saddening thing as Ruby was such a beautiful little toddler. My wife used to babysit for her.

Dawn Serena Young never mentioned anything about being deeply religious. To the contrary, she was weird and had tattoos in several parts of her body. She is "Bipolar" and you can tell if you had a converation with her for any length of time. She had several issues with alcohol, was in staying sober in recovery, and had drug abuse problems in her sordid past. Does that sound "Churchy" or "Religious" to you. The other mothers mentioned in Kinney's "tantrum" had no similar background to Dawn Serena Young.

One gets the impression that Kinney is on a religious witch hunt and wants to find fault with religious people. That would not be a hard thing to do as there are millions of faulty christians.

Kinney does not mention the hundreds of thousands of babies abandoned by their mothers in third world countries throughout the world, and here in the US....would Kinney find a corelation between Religion and these babies who end up dying in garbage bags, dumpsters, and toilets.

This type of critique is clearly bigoted, self-righteousness, and unsubstantiated by any truly relevant data. The work of someone with a grudge towards religion perhaps.

Kinney's "tantrum" is void of any real depth and sensitivity to humanity. His work is a waste of education.

Kinney, you might consider spending some time traveling and working outside the US for you to get a better perspective on religion, politics, and sensitivity to others.

Anonymous said...

To all who care, I was in the delivery room when that little angel came to us. I use the word angel because that was what she was. She left many footprints on mine & my childrens hearts. She had the most beautiful peace about her. I was what I though as a close friend to Serenna. when she left us to move to Eugene we lost contact. I was so taken back by the news of what she did to her angel. I was around here for most of her pregnancy and after Ruby was born for a couple of months. I never in my wilderst dreams would of thought she was capable of hurting Ruby. She would cry when ruby cried, she would get upset if she thought ruby was upset. To see the two of them the way I saw them together was an amazing experience. To all of us who knew them as mother & daughter it is a hard thing to swallow. So this is not a religiuos comment or anything like that...... It is just a wishful thought that makes me and my children deal with such a loose. Ruby was an angle sent to make us all smile while she was here and to make us smile when we think of her.. every picture I have of her she is smiling and that is the way I choose to remember my ANGEL Ruby.

Anonymous said...

I don't really feel entitled in adding a comment since there are some very personal comments already, however I would just like to consider the broader issue. Obviously this particular incident is deeply upsetting, however I believe religion deserves some general justification.

Personally I am not religious, however I do not subscribe to the sentiments of the original blog that seem to ask for the banning of religion as the sentiments of the original blog. I recognise that the majority of religious people could not be classed as extremists. Some, such as Don Cupitt, don't even subscribe to the typical ideas of a god, afterlife etc. I choose Cupitt as I believe his chosen take on Christianity highlights the crux of religion. By treating 'God' as a symbol for moral standards and principles he encapsulates what religions attempt to do - provide a basis by which to live and a retreat for times of suffering. It's all too easy to be cyncical and blame religion for war - crusades, Iraq (?) etc, similarly its easy to look at extreme and unusual examples at assume it is representative of a whole. Please, give religion a break. Surely it is better to attempt to provide a moral basis, be that basis found in religion or elsewhere, than not? If we are all cynical and assume the worst then as a race we cannot make positive progress.

Perhaps I'm being idealistic - being 17 no doubt leaves many years of experience untouched - yet I am troubled by the negativity associated to what is used by so many as a positive force. Again, I am not religious, I am perhaps lucky to be able to believe that I can find shelter and a secure basis for life in this world, but I'm aware that so many people can't. I wish them happiness, and for the cynics to consider the impact of their negativity.

Thank you
Kate Osborne

Anonymous said...

Wow, lots of people that knew the involved. I didn´t knew them, and I hope you don't see as disrespect if point somethings.
"Dawn Serena Young never mentioned anything about being deeply religious. To the contrary, she was weird and had tattoos in several parts of her body." - So religion erases your tatoos, is it?
"Kinney does not mention the hundreds of thousands of babies abandoned by their mothers in third world countries throughout the world" - I happen to live in one of this third world contries, and let me tell you, it is religion that prevents us from having legal abortion and efficient family planning orientation to the poor ( the rich enter in a plane and go have safe and clean abortions in first world countries whenever they want to). Without religion, there would not be "the hundreds of thousands of babies abandoned by their mothers" at least here.
It seems I only responded to the anon who posted at 7:51 PM, March 19, 2006. It doesn't mean that I agree with the other religious posts, but this has became a very personal tread, and the third world remark chaffed me personally.

Anonymous said...

The connection between infanticide and belief in the afterlife is incredibly weak from a scientific point of view. 80% of the world population believe in the afterlife (excluding myself. I would not be so sure that we should be expecting homicidal behaviour from a person based on a fact that he or she believes in an afterlife...
Furthermore- attempting to weaken someone's belief in an afterlife by merely reasoning it away is absolutely unsuccessful- might as well hit your head against a wall- it will produce the same effect.
Thirdly- writing emotionally supercharged ridiculous arguments against one or another form of belief is superstupid- u will waste your time and still fail to make a non-believer out of anyone

KK MD in Psychology

Anonymous said...

Yeah, just got a collect call from Serena yesterday. It's the first time I talked to her since she took Ruby from us. I didn't know how I would react, (broke down and started to cry and had to hand the phone off). When my partner finished up the call it was very evident that Serena does not understand reality like the majority of people do. She is still concerned for Ruby's soul, feels that there is a conspiracy to ignore her mental condition, which she believes is only moderately impacting on her ability to function and is heavily drugged often at the state hospital where she now resides. Regardless of what she says was the reason she killed Ruby, the DA, Judge, defense attorney and police all agreed that Serena was not fit to stand trial. The folks at the hospital also agree that she is not all there. So how much is the religion a part of this, she got messed up with some spooky shit in Haiti and had some experiences that her mental condition made her feel were very much real. My final take is that I still miss Ruby and Serena. I knew she didn't have an easy life , but I didn't know she was so far gone that she could fathom murdering her daughter. In case you're curious I am an atheist and have little room in my life for religious prostelatizing and the bullshit that most religions tote around as baggage. Serena is just not a real human being anymore, something broke, if religion is the excuse so be it and use it to feel more anger against some group. It's your life, fuck it up as you see fit.

RS said...

I dated and very much knew this girl in the early 90's in NYC, I cared for her and though at times felt she was very quirky and boisterous, in full memory, it never seemed that much more than the characteristics of a typical insecure 21/22 yr old figuring out who they were, as I was myself at the time..While trying to look her up on the internet a little while back< it took a while to actually sink in that this was her and could be true.. It shook me to the core and brings me to tears again as I write this now..I knew her as Dani..,,I'm so very very sorry to hear of such a tragedy..

Anonymous said...

Yes, I knew her as "Dani" also in the early 90s...I am shocked and deeply saddened by this, she was one of my very best friends in those days. She even lived with my family for some time. I can't even believe this:( It brings me to tears...

Anonymous said...

I also knew Dani/Serena.
She had lots of mental illness, but I never would have dreamed this. I was hoping to find a way to write to her. If anyone knows, please email

Anonymous said...

I kew serrena after all this had happened i spent 6 months protecting her from people who wanted to hurt her in jail I havent talked to her in a year and i miss her a great deal u all can judge her but she is sick and she just needs the right help I never knew I could even be in a room with someone that had comitted a crime like this until I met her So to my Serrena I miss r coffee and making cards keep ur chin up

Anonymous said...

From the first time I met Dani in Junior High School she was a special person, plagued by some different ideas, but was a loving and incredibly unique individual. She was one of my best friends in high school, and her open acceptance of my sexuality was a constant relief and source of courage.

It was she who changed my life by inviting me to move to NYC, and she lived with me a few years later.

She was always a complicated, but unique, sensitive and loving person who apparently feel prey to mental illness.

I too suffer from Bi-polar disorder, though certainly not to the extent poor Dani apparently suffered.

I cannot express how often I have remembered Dani fondly, and our years knowing each other, and I don't think anyone who ever met her would forget her kindness and absolute hilarity.

How sad in a society so rich, so capable and so well educated, we leave those who struggle with mental illness to suffer silently, with very little help, guidance or support. When and if they transgress the bounds of normal behavior, we punish them. As a lawyer I have watched many people fall prey to a barbaric system that does little to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

There is nothing redeeming in this story if we do not change our ways. The poor little girl certainly could not defend herself or fend for herself. And I know in my heart that Dani would never hurt a soul unless she thought what she was doing was the morally and ethically correct response. She should have had help, supervision and assistance in caring for her child. They are both victims of a society that would rather demonize than understand.

I hope Dani is receiving the care, supervision and love she needs to overcome this tragedy, and I hope her daughter's soul rests in peace.

Anonymous said...