Saturday, 29 November 2008

Theresa Knorr - Mother From Hell


THERESA KNORR


THE MOTHER FROM HELL


She beat... She abused... She tortured... She killed.





Time to meet one of the most evil mothers to walk this earth. Her name is Theresa Cross Knorr. Convicted of murder, she is currently serving a lengthly jail term for the notorious murders of two of her daughters. She will not eligable for parole until 2027. Although she committed these murderous acts in 1984 - 1985 and was sentenced in 1995, It wasn't until 2007 when I first heard about this case via the book "Mother Dearest" written by Wensley Clarkson, basically a re-write of the book above with an updated ending. At the time Wensley wrote the book "The Mother From Hell" (AKA "Whatever Mother Says") Theresa Knorr's trial hearing had not reached it's conclusion. On the 17th October 2005 she was sentenced to two life sentences for themurders of Suesan and Sheila, her flesh and blood.

The story of Theresa Knorr and her family is a shocking and disturbing one indeed. I recommend anybody who hasn't read the book by Wensley Clarkson to get hold of a copy, there's plenty on Amazon. It tells the tale of a Theresa Sanders,a young wife and mother of 1, living in Sacramento, California and married to Howard Sanders. On July 6th 1964 Theresa appeared on the doorstep belonging to the town's Sheffiff's Deputy. She told him she had shot her first husband. When officers arrived on the scene they founf Howard Sanders dead Theresas was was arrested and went on trial for murder. She pleaded not guilty and told the court a tearful tale of domestic violence and self defence. The jury took under 2 hours to aqquit her. Theresa Knorr was free to go.


Over the next 20 years Theresa met and married man after man, and eventually bore in total 6 children. There was Clifford and Theresa Sanders, concieved by her now dead husband. Next came Suesan in 1966 after meeting next potential husband Robert Knorr. In 1967 William was born and the follwing year came Robert. The last child, Terry, came along in August 1970. Not long after this, Mr & Mrs Knorr divorced. There were further men in Theresa Knorr's life over the next few years, but ultimately the person in charge of protecting the children from harm and responsible for their upbringing was the very person who would damage these kids so viciously, mentally and physically... resulting in homicide.








From top left : Suesan Knorr, Theresa Knorr, Robert Knorr, William Knorr, Theresa sanders.

According to statements from the surving children, life at the Knorr home was less than happy. Theresa was a very controlling mother and would hand out vicious beatings upon her children when drunk, escalating in severity as the years went on. The children were so afraid of their mother that when she started involving the siblings to help her beat one of them they simply had to obey. One child would be held down by the others while Theresa doled out her extreme punishments, which included using the "Board Of Education" - a long inch thick piece of wood used to strike the victim. The 'chosen one' would be left covered in bruises after these attacks. Although initiated by their mother, it must have caused great conflict between the brothers and sisters. This bears a striking resemblance to the punishments inflicted by Foster Mother Eunice Spry in the UK many years later. She used a stick to beat the foster children placed in her care and would force sticks down their throats to stop them screaming while she beat them.

Theresa Knorr it seems was a very dillusional person suffering from extreme bouts of paranoia. She was convinced her daughter Suesan was a witch and cast spells on her mother to gain weight. Although nobody was safe, Suesan was subjected to the brunt of Knorr's violence.
Convinced of Suesan's 'powers' and consumed with jealousy over their teenage beauty and thin frames, Theresa Knorr started the horrendous act of breaking her daughters down. Suesan was force-fed boxes of macaroni & cheese mixed with lard, 4 boxes of the stuff at a time. If she vomited, she was forced to eat this too. Suesan ran away from home and was placed into Child Protective custody. Questioned by many officials including psychiatrists, Suesan told them of the abuse she was suffering at the hands of her mother. When questioned over these allegations, Theresa simply blamed it on her daughter having mental health problems. There doesn't appear to have been much of an investigation into the other children, but then again they would undoubtedly have been threatened to keep their mouths shut, as Terry later told police many years later. Many kids from violent homes will do whatever they can to please the abuser for fear of what may happen. St the request of Social Services custody was given back to Theresa Knorr Suesan was sent back home.


THE HOUSE ON BELLINGHAM WAY



After Suesan's return back to the house on Bellingham Way, Sacremento CA, the beatings became so bad that Suesan's featured started to change. She would be black and blue all over. Knorr had come close to being exposed as a brutal abuser and she couldn't let that happen again. After Suesan's escape and return, the 15 year old started to be tied up during the nights so she couldn't run away again. The beatings continued and took a drastic turn one day in 1983. Knorr had Suesan tied up, donned some black leather gloves and proceeded to puch her daughter in the stomach. The gloves were passed around the rest of the siblings and under their mother's command were made to participate in the brutal beating of their sister. As things escalted Knorr pulled a gun from the pocket of her dress and shot Suesan in the chest. As she lay crumpled on the floor, sisters Theresa dn Terry were told to pick up theior sister and place her in the bathtub. This was to be Suesan's home for the next few weeks while she recovered. No ambulance or doctors were called. Instead, Knorr fed her daughter huge ammounts of drugs to kill the pain and slowely 'nursed' her back to health. In the months after the shooting Suesan did make a slow recovery and the family moved from their house into a small cottage in Auburn Boulevard.


THE HOUSE ON AUBURN BOULEVARD, SACRAMENTO, CA.

The move however changed no dynamics in the Knorr household. Suesan was still considered a 'witch' by her mother. The shooting incident made Knorr even more fearful of her daughter and strted restraining her with handcuffs and blindfolds for much of the day and night. She was made an outcast, unfit to join in at meal times and drugged to keep her sedated. Knorr believed Suesan was possessed by the devil and was still casting spells on her to gain weight. Suesan's health was deterioating as the beatings still continued. One night Knorr threw a pair of scissors at her daughter. They landed in Suesan's back.

Suesan begged her mother to be allowed to leave home. Theresa, maybe becoming bored with Suesan by this stage, agreed...on one condition. The bullet that was still lodged in her back from the shooting the year before would have to be removed. Suesan agreed - this was her chance for freedom and her mother had agreed. After all the beatings and abuse she had suffered, this final act must have seemed a small thing to go through. Suesan was drugged and given whiskey, which resulted in her becoming unconcious. She was layed down onto the kitchen floor and with a scalpel, her back was cut and the bullet removed. In Wensley Clarkson's book, it states this act was carried by Robert Knorr at his mother's demand. But on the Cold Case Files episode, Terry claimed it was her mother who performed the operation. Nevertheless, the bullet was removed and Suesan's slow descent into death had begun.




TO BE CONTINUED...

















































































33 comments:

VĂ© said...

.... I don't know what to say. I feel like I'm going to have nightmares about it.

Mary Jo said...

What happened to Howard, the first child. I can't find anything on him.

Dolcevita said...

Its impossible to fully convey my absolute repulsion at this monster called Theresa Knorr. I do not see her as a human being, she is a beast and should really be forced to endure the pain and suffering she inflicted on those poor children. She should have someone shoot her in the back and then proceed to operate on her to remove the bullet too, without anaesthetic. If she dies during the process, so be it. Rough justice. Sadly I think there is something wrong with the justice system in that it is far too leniant on the cruelest criminals.

wolfgang said...

Howard Clyde Sanders left his family, when he was 26, I found

cutsbygabriel said...

its amazing that im finally reading this story i lived in the home across the st and the youngest son was my best frined growing up the oldest son howard was my sisters bf, i witnessed alot bad things happpen to those kids and would tell my mother did she could making numerous reports to the state and never had any responce in getting help for the kids. i clearly know and understand any part robert may have had in this and do not hold him not responable in any part, from the fourth grade when we became frineds was sacred to death of his mother and had bruises and welts on him on daily bases i would like to at least talk to him and let him know that my heart really goes out to him and what he went through robert really cared alot about by mother and my mom really tried to help him so robert if you somehow read this your gradeschool and junior high bud gabriel send you alot blessing and wold be nice to hear from you and know that your doing well now, and im just glad your mom is away now so your dont have to fear her any longer and my mom had heard of all of this just b4 she passed away but all you kids should know that my mother mrs MIzell did what ever she could to try to get you away from there and had no assistance from the state

cutsbygabriel said...

stabif you ave any questions i can problably answer most them the mother stayed in my home after the murders happens and we had no ideah about any of this and also two sons i mnew robert well when we were younger and also my mother knew the mother and boys dated my sisters i just wished the group them would just killed her becuse would saved the family alot heartache an beatings and misery

steve said...

I would love to peel the skin off of her!

Howard Sanders said...

Gabriel, How is your sister Scarlet? And just to set the story straight I left my mothers home @ 18yrs old but really was for all intents & purposes out when I was 16yrs old. ~H~

Anonymous said...

In the pic of the family, the bottom left child you have as theresa, its actually sheila. and where you said she married howard sanders, his name was clifford.
respect the dead.

Angie0923 said...

I just watched the Wicked Attraction episode on Theresa Knorr's life. So sad. I just don't understand one thing. At the time she was arrested she was (according to this show) working as an in-home nurse's aide or something like that. How did she manage that being so mentally unstable? If anyone has any insight on which book is the best to read I'd love to know. Thanks.

Debbie said...

THERESA WAS A LIVE IN CARETAKER FOR MY MOTHER FOR TWO YEARS PRIOR TO HER BEING ARRESTED. SHE DID AT TIMES SOME STRANGE THINGS. SHE ALWAYS HAD THE DOORS LOCK AND WOULD INCH DOWN THE HALL WITH HER BACK AGAINST THE WALL WHEN WE WOUL GO TO VISIT MOM. SHE WOULD WEAR DIFFERENT WIGS AND SAY IT WAS HER HAIR. WE KNEW BETTER. IN THE BOOKS MOTHERS DAY IS OVER AND WHATEVER MOTHER SAID THEY TALK ABOUT OTHER STRANGE THINGS SHE DID. HOWEVER SHE DID TAKE GOOD CARE OF OUR MOTHER WHO WAS AN INVALID (M.S.)AND CAME WITH EXCELLENT REFERENCES. SHE HAD WORKED AS A CNA WHICH WAS ONE OF THE REASONS WE HIRED HER. SHE WAS ALWAYS PLEASANT, FIXED NICE MEALS, INSITED ON BABYSITTING FOR ME, SAYING SHE LOVED MY GIRLS AS SHE NEVER HAD ANY TO SPOIL ! SCARY !!! SHE TALKED ABOUT A SON IN CALIFORNIA AND THAT IS ALL WE KNEW ABOUT. SHE LEFT ABRUPTLY AND WENT TO WORK FOR ANOTHER WOMAN ABOUT 30 MIN. AWAY. MY BELIEF IS THAT SHE KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP AND ALSO HER DAUGHTER TERRY WAS LIVING CLOSE TO WHERE SHE WENT. IT WAS A TOTAL SHOCK AS WE WATCHED THE NEWS AND AMERICAS MOST WANTED !! DAUGHTERS MURDERED ? SHE DIDN'T HAVE ANY , OR SO SHE TOLD US !!

Debbie said...

I HAVE HEARD THERE IS A MOVIE MADE ABOUT HER. CAN ANYONE GIVE ME INFORMATION. I WOULD LOVE TO GET AHOLD OF THE MOVIE TO WATCH. I DO KNOW THAT HER DAUGHTER TERRY WAS ON MONTEL.

Angie0923 said...

Debbie~wow. Thanks for your reply. I am very intrigued by this story and it was so recent. Poor kids. Angie (angie0923@hotmail.com)

Anonymous said...

Very sad story. Too bad the eldest son is son fuc'ed in the head. I don't understand how you could do anything like that to your sibling. I feel that theresa knorr should not be imprisoned for life. She should be tortured for every waking moment she is alive until she dies. Now we have to pay for her sick pathetic soul to breath in the prison system.By the way I did not make a mistake by not capitalizing her name. She deserves no such respect. Eye for an eye I say. Make this piece of crap pay for what she did. I hope were she is incarcerated that those around her make every day miserable. I think it is a bull shit of an excuse to say it was all from her upbringing. Nobody has the most ideal childhood and even if you have a horrible situation like this you always have places to go. I just hope this evil bitch pays in the most excruciating pain for what she did. It teresa ever gets out I hope all of society will be waiting to torture her till she expires.

Robert G said...

There are significant errors in this version of the story. I just watched COLD Case Files - and found the rest of the story online here:
http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/family/theresa_cross/index.html

The 20-year old daughter who was left to die in the closet was named Sheila (not Theresa), she was very attractive. We don't seem to have a picture of Suesan (just a likeness) after age 10. According to Terry (who I read has passed away a few months after COLD CASE FILes was aired in 2003, although I keep reading reports that she was on Montel (Williams) and is alive...I don't think she is. Nevertheless, the two daughters who died were Suesan and Sheila and at least their names should be correct. I don't think I'll ever forget this story. I have a sister, and we do not speak, do not get along. However, I could never have tortured her to please a parent. I have to wonder about those brothers, I'm sorry, but even if they were afraid, they could have refused. At some point, people do need to take responsibility for their own actions. Child abuse? As we hear every day, seems to be, sadly, somewhat common. It's not a satisfactory excuse for torture and murder. Hope this info helps.

Anonymous said...

"Robert", I can see that you have just left a comment today. I just saw this cold-case files segment for the second time a few minutes ago. I was wondering if this horrific excuse of a mother was still alive in prison, or hopefully had died. I am not a monster with the "off with their heads" attitude towards these types of people, but did come from an abusive child-hood myself. I always thought it was something I did wrong, and always hoped and prayed that a neighbor, friend or schoolmate would help me and my siblings. Not the case. I'm ok now and have two grown children of my own, and NEVER once even fathomed doing anything this horrific. I noticed that you thought Terry might have passed away, and hoped that if you visit this site again, you could tell me if this is true, when, and how. This story seared a spot in my mind and I often think of Terry. I was brought up to have the belief that "everything happens for a reason", but this is beyond anything I could ever wrap my thoughts around. Brings to mind the Susan Smith case. I believe some women should never be BLESSED with children. As a mom, these cases repulse me. Hope to hear back, Lynn

Robert G said...

Hi Lynn. I didn't expect anyone to read the post and respond so soon! :)

I'm getting various and different things about the youngest daughter, Terry. Initially, from wikipedia (which is VERY often wrong) I read that she died of a heart attack a few months after the show aired on Cold Case Files, (2003) which is now only in reruns. I found on a facebook page dedicated to the two lovely daughters who died, Suesan and Sheila, that Terry was very much alive, and that the rumors of her death were just that: rumors. But I have no proof either way. I read she made an appearance on the Montel Williams Show, but I'm unclear when. I read one person who wrote she was defintely alive, but offered no proof of it. Terry - if you are out there could you let us know please?

I didn't meant to judge anyone who came from a physically abusive household. I didn't have that, so perhaps my perception is slanted - the fear of a parent is so horrible it repulses us all on some primal level. I think that's one reason this terrible case stays with you - it was their mother! It would be horrible enough had they been killed by some stranger, but how a mother could do that is beyond normal comprehension. From what I've read about the mother, I would guess she's messed up in the head about religion. Seems to happen a lot. She saw demons in everything, and thought her daughter Suesan was using "witchcraft" to make her (Theresa, the mother) gain weight. And she drank - apparently a lot. That combination is lethal. Thanks for your reply, Lynn.

If you want to visit the facebook page dedicated to Sheila and Suesan, go to:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Loving-Memory-Of-Suesan-Sheila-Knorr/199534793412600

Anonymous said...

Lynn to Robert G.,
Robert, thank you so much for all the info. And please, know I took away no feelings of judgement what-so-ever. The abuse is probably what gave me the strength, patience, and compassionate understanding for each individual circumstance I encounter. Don't get me wrong, child abuse is sickening and unfortunately overlooked way too often. But because of my personal involvement - I am aware maybe more so than others, and able to spot and "sense" a potential devistating problem and take action as I see fit. Like I said, everything happens for a reason, and this alone is what keeps me standing and allows me to give a voice to someone else that might not be heard otherwise:)
Again I thank you for responding back, and I will leave armed with information you supplied me on Terry and try to locate her. Highest blessings to you always, Lynn

Anonymous said...

Teresa is very much alive and goes under the name (Teresa Walker -Knorr) or something like that on facebook. I don't know how the rumours came about that she died but I am pleased that she is alive. You can look her up on facebook, she has an open page.
What happened is absolutely horrific and I am pleased to see Terry is moving on in as positive a manner as possible.

Anonymous said...

Theresa Walker passed away three days ago, on December 8, 2011 at her home in St. Joseph, Missouri. She will be sadly missed by those who knew her. I did not know her well, but her death has left a deep sadness in my heart and life. I hope she can now rest in peace.

Anna Cunningham said...

What I don't get is how messed up some of these people can be. Is cold case files on netflix? Or where can i find the show on this demonic witch? I'm doing a closing argument of a notorious case, and I happened to come across this one. I will surely end up crying by the time my presentation is over. I hope the preformance will tear at the emotions of others as it did mine. My best friend is going through the same thing, and i've now decided to get the police involved. This is not a matter to be dealt with alone. I hope and pray the witch never makes it out of prison alive. She'll be eighty when she is allowed parole. If any of her children are reading this, I hope that they understand it was through a plan of GOd's to make you a stronger person. Please, shoot me an e-mail whenever you get a chance.

annacunn1@aol.com

Joy said...

Gavvo - I don't which part of Norwich you're in, but in my experience the weather in Norwich is rarely crappy. We live on the driest side on the country. Its nearly always good weather where I live. Maybe its just your perception is a bit wonky.

As for this case, truly tragic. Those poor girls lived in hell from birth. I hope their mother is living a traumatic existance.

Anonymous said...

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=51584257

According to this, Terry has indeed passed away. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Howard Sanders. I am just reading about this and must say if you took any part in the abuse of these innocent girls I hope someone finds you and burns you to where you are an inch from death, lets you get your health back, then burns you again.

Anonymous said...

If i ever find you or your brothers, i will kill you the same way you did those girls.

Anonymous said...

LETS NOT FORGET her fist husband. He was also a victim.

Anonymous said...

lets not forget her husband she killed. he was a victim as well. not just the two girls.

Anonymous said...

The boys were obviuosly victims as well.their Mother was diabolically evil. Amazing any of the kids survived. Hope they had
some assemblance of happiness, strength, and peace in their lives

Anonymous said...

I do understand Howard Sanders was another victim.. I f u ever read this comment.. let me tell u.. I never judge u, I do feel very sad u had to do and take part in those horrendous actions..I know u were not mental prepared to face the reallity u were in, I do pray for u. And for ur soul.

wthblogspot951 said...

You are so awesome. Have you ever heard of David and Richard Pelzer. Roberts mom sounds just like David and Richard Pelzer's mom. Exactly like her.

wthblogspot951 said...

I don't blame you for leaving back then Howard. Back in those days, child abuse wasn't taken seriously as it is now. And even now, it still happens as severely and even sometimes worse. I hope all of you who are alive still have healed well.

Anonymous said...

There is no excuse in the world for what this woman did to her kids. Her sons could have got help or just gone to the police. We make mental health or someone's past to justify cases like this and this is no reason to do what she did and she was very clever in getting away with it.Her sons ignored their sister crying in the cupboard so were a witness to what happened and did nothing about it. I can understand they were afraid but this went on for years and years. Sorry but they could have got help and just ignored it and they could have gone to their father.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous... 6/2014 howard is alive but does share in some of his mothers traits haveing had a family in calfornia himself just to abandon his kids as he did his brothers and sisters to only marrie for a second time becoming a convicted fellon and then leaving his kids behind to follow his new wife back home where she later became a fellon her self believe he has a shop in milford michigan called fullspectrum auto repair found it to be a interesting read on the shops web page give it a look also found his kids of california are in prison or have served so no moms rules are far in their reach sad all the way around