Stepmothers in popular culture have a pretty bad reputation of being evil witches. Obviously, there are many wonderful stepmoms out there who lovingly dote on and help raise their stepchildren, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some real-life evil stepmothers as well.
Click through the slideshow above to see some of the evilest stepmothers in recent years. Hit NEXT to read more about their terrible crimes.
1. Jessica Ann Cox
The 39-year-old mother was arrested in 2013 on accusations that she handcuffed and tortured her two stepsons. The teenaged boys testified that she had not fed them for three days, and that she would beat them with rolling pins and mallets, as well as burn them with cigarettes and force them to bath naked in bathtubs full of ice cubes and cold water.
2. Tracey Wright
31-year-old Tracey Wright was given a 15-year sentence after she was convicted for the agonizing death of her six-year-old stepdaughter. According to reports, the child was cruelly beaten and starved to death.
3. Heather Leavell-Keaton
This stepmother was sentenced to death for the abuse, torture and murder of her five and three-year-old stepchildren. The children’s father, John DeBlase, was also convicted in their deaths. The duo apparently used hot candle wax and cigarettes, and dosed the children with poisonous anti-freeze. The children were tragically found chocked to death.
4. Tonya Schmidt
The Pennsylvania stepmom was arrested for burning her six-year-old stepdaughter’s hands. An investigation led authorities to discover that the abuses had been ongoing for at least three years.
5. Misty Stoddard
Stoddard’s autistic stepdaughter died from brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation. Apparently, the 11-year-old girl had been tied to a wooden plank with her mouth duct-taped closed to “protect” her, at the hands of her stepmother.
6. Shaquila L. Byrd
The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of her five-year-old stepson. The child was reported by elementary school staff to be hungry, and covered with burns and bruises all over his body. Byrd later admitted to hitting the boy with a belt, as well as making him do push-ups as a form of punishment. She also later admitted to a judge that she would lock her stepson in his room from the time he come home from school until he left for school the next day, sometimes causing him to soil himself.