In modern-day, saying that not all women are born natural mothers is not controversial. However, back in the 1800s, women were not allowed not to love children, and they were brought up to become mothers. Some of them, though, were brought up to become monsters.
Jeanne Weber was born in a French village in 1875 as a kid of a poor family who had to leave home to work in Paris. At the age of 18, in 1893, Jeanne married her husband, only to leave her and their three children, a few years later. Jeanne started drinking alcohol, but she was beloved in her society due to her kind character and the good way of behaving to her neighbors. To help her earn some money, families trusted her as their babysitter and that was their mistake. Their deadly mistake.
In 1905, while Jeanne was taking care of her brother’s children, one of the kids, 18-month old Georgette, started feeling sick and eventually died. The doctor who confirmed her death ignored the strange marks around Georgette’s neck and attributed the death to respiratory malfunction. The parents were devastated, but Jeanne was above suspicion, so they still trusted her to take care of their children. A few days later, Jeanne’s second niece, 2-year old Suzanne, died in her arms, and the doctor attributed the death to respiratory malfunction, again. Germaine, her last niece, died 10 days later and the cause of her death, according to the same doctor, was diphtheria. Her brother’s kids were all dead, and aunt Jeanne was the killer. Four days after Germaine’s death, Jeanne’s son, Marcel, died of diphtheria as well. Jeanne Weber had killed the kids of her family.
With four children having lost their lives within a month, people could not even think of Jeanne as the monster behind the murders. On April 5, 1905, one of Jeanne’s sister-in-law, asked her to take care of her 10-year-old son, Maurice. When they got back, they found Maurice trying to take a breath while Jeanne was wrapping her hands tight around his neck. Maurice, 10, died a few hours later at the Bretonneau hospital. Jeanne got arrested, but it was no big deal.
The case brought up the deaths of Jeanne’s family’s children, but two more kids, Lucie Aleandre, and Marcel Poyatos had died mysteriously in the past when she was taking care of them. On January 29, 1906, Jeanne Weber was tried for the murder of seven children. The press called her the “Ogress of the Goutte-d’Or Street,” and the trial gained huge exposure. Jeanne the Ogress was famous worldwide.
Henri Robert, one of the most famous lawyers of that time, represented Jeanne Weber, and he tried to convince Judge Leydet that Jeanne was just a woman with no luck, and every single death was out of coincidence. He did not, so Leydet ordered the exhumation of the dead children’s bodies, but the new forensic examination suggested that all of them had died of natural causes. Jean was free to go and everyone believed in her innocence. She left Paris.
Chambon was a small village where seamstresses were located working together for one of the largest shirt industries. Jeanne Glaize moved to Chambon to work for Sylvain Bavouzet, a 55-year-old man who needed help with his children: Germaine, Louise, and Auguste, aged 16, 11, and 9, respectively. Yes, Jeanne Glaize was Jeanne Weber, and she had not completed her work.
On April 16, 1907, Auguste was feeling ill, and Jeanne put him in his bed since Sylvain had gone to work. The next day, Auguste was dead, and Dr. Papazoglou noticed a strange mark around his neck and reported it. However, the forensic examination came to the conclusion that it was a tight shirt that caused the mark. Six days later, Germaine Bavouzet, the oldest daughter of the Bavouzet family, found an old issue of “Le Petit Parisien” which featured a story of the “Ogress of the Goutte-d’Or Street.” Jeanne got arrested again, and two local doctors, Dr. Audiat, and Dr. Bruneau claimed that Auguste’s death was caused by a vicious criminal act. But the game was not over yet.
Henri Robert was the one to represent Weber again, and he suggested to the Judge that provincial doctors could not form a scientific perspective. The two coroners, Dr. Socquet, and Dr. Thoinot, who had examined the bodies of the first trial were recruited and they noted that Auguste Bavouzet had died of typhoid fever. On January 6, 1908, Jeanne Weber was a free woman. Again.
Jeanne searched for a new home and, after changing her name to Marie Lamoine, she started working for an orphanage in Orgeville. Almost a week after her recruitment, Jeanne got caught in the act of struggling a child to death and the managers hushed up the case, afraid of the institution’s reputation. Jeanne returned to Paris.
At the age of 33 she got married to Paul Moulinet, a professional criminal who fell in love with Jeanne when he found her working as a prostitute to survive. On May 8, 1908, the married couple stayed at a hostel in Commercy where Jeanne was caught red-handed trying to struggle the owner’s son, Marcel Poirot. The game was finally over.
Jeanne Weber got arrested for the last time and she confessed all the murders she had committed, describing the way she killed her victims: either using a cloth wrapped around their neck, or pushing their chests so hard, to the point they were not able to breath. Jeanne was transferred to a mental hospital where she was found dead on July 5, 1910. This time she had killed herself.