Diane Downs – All you need to know about the 1983 Oregon horror
On the night of May 19, 1983, Diane Downs entered the emergency room ward in Springfield, Oregon. Her three children, Kristi, 8, Cheryl, 7, and Danny, 3, were in the back seat covered in blood: hit by an empty bullet. Emergency room staff announced Cheryl’s death at the scene and placed the other two in hospital with serious injuries.
When asked about the events that occurred, Downs explained the story of a man who set her on the side of a dirt road, while her three children were sleeping in the back seat. He asked for her car and she refused and shot her children. After she escaped, she ran to the emergency room. During her struggle with the “shaggy-haired” man, she also got a bullet in her left arm but it was not life threatening.
While her children were still in the hospital, Downs began giving media interviews, telling strange stories and explaining her innocence. Her story was useless. It was full of extraneous details that reduced the legitimacy of the story. Describing it as taking the children to see in the dark, while they were asleep, does not make sense. The police began investigating Downes. They managed to find her secret diary that explained her relationship with a married man. The man she was involved with did not want the children, which made her view them as a burden.
Although the stroke impaired Kristi’s ability to speak, she was able to tell the police what she remembered of that night. Her story did not include seeing a “shaggy-haired” man. This led to Downs’ arrest in February 1984 with a trial that began in May of the same year. However, Downs had a plan to win sympathy from the jury. She seduced a man along her postal route and was pregnant during her trial.
After all the evidence against Downs was presented, a star witness was put on the podium. After months of physical and mental therapy, Kristi Downs was able to take the stand and tell the jury she had been shot. Downs was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment plus fifty years. She was able to give birth between judgment and judgment. The baby, named Amy Elizabeth, was adopted by another family and named Becky Babcock.
Just three years into her sentence, Downs managed to escape from the prison in Oregon where she was being held. Two weeks later, she was discovered blocks from the prison, in the home of another inmate’s husband. She remains in prison today, in California, in a high security facility. In 2008 and 2010, she was denied parole and had to wait a decade before applying again.