Thirty-five years ago, Diane Downs, now 64, was convicted of shooting her three children– Danny, Cheryl, and Christie– in Springfield, Oregon.
While Danny and Christie survived, Cheryl, the middle child, was killed in the attack. In court, according to Glamour, prosecutors argued that Downs’ motive to get rid of her children stemmed from the fact that her boyfriend at the time did not want kids.
Today, Downs is incarcerated at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California.
In a statement to Heavy, Terry Thornton, Deputy Press Secretary of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, stated, “Elizabeth Diane Downs, 64, is currently housed at Central California Women’s Facility. She has been housed in California for the Oregon Department of Corrections since Aug. 30, 1993.”
Here’s the latest news on Downs:
She Recently Opened up About Coronavirus at Central California Women’s Facility
Three months ago, Downs spoke to OregonLive in regards to the novel coronavirus sweeping through the prison where she is being held. The outlet reported that the prison houses 3,000 inmates and, as of April, was being locked down to protect against the spread of the virus.
Via an email sent through her brother, James Frederickson, Downs told OregonLive, “Every time the World News shows the big red circles on the national map, I look at Oregon because that’s where Christie and Daniel are… Compared to other States, it appears Oregon’s red circle is smaller than most places. Is Oregon relatively virus-free, or are my children in greater danger than the red circle size suggests? I still worry about them and love them, though they’ll never know it.”
The outlet also reported Downs as saying that prisoners at the facility started suffering from COVID-19 symptoms in February.
Downs, herself, started feeling sick and was told by a supervisor to rest after seemingly showcasing symptoms at work, where she refurbishes bicycles for underprivileged children. “I showered, slept for 4 hours, woke up and drank water, then went back to sleep for 16 more hours,” she wrote. “When I see what others have suffered, I think my boss probably saved my life.”
Daughter Christie Identified Her Mother as the Shooter In Court
Shockingly, it was Downs’ daughter, Christie, who identified her mother in court as the shooter. A jury subsequently convicted Downs on all counts, and she was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years, according to Glamour.
Ten days after her sentencing, Downs gave birth to a daughter named Amy Elizabeth. The child was later renamed Rebecca Babcock by her adoptive parents.
Babcock learned who her mother was at age 11, after tricking her babysitter to divulge the name.
A few years later, Babcock watched a miniseries based on her mother, and it “broke” her heard and her life went on a “downward spiral,” ABC reported.
At one point, she communicated with Downs through letters, but those eventually stopped when Babcock asked Downs to stop contacting her.
Today, 35-year-old Babcock works as a behavioral health coordinator for children in Salem, Oregon.
She tells ABC, “The impact of Diane Downs being my mom has altered the course of my life so many times. But I’m on track and I’m really happy with the way life is.”