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Not Carol


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Thirty-year-old Carol Coronado committed the most unspeakable crime - murdering her three young children. Surprisingly, her husband and family have stood by her side, defending her actions as "Not Carol." Carol would never have been capable of murdering her children. This story is a case study in undiagnosed post-partum psychosis with commentary and exposition from experts.

Length: 78 minutes


Copyright date: ©2020

Segments in this Video

Introduction: Not Carol (03:04)
Carol Coronado calls her mother begging for help. Her children range in age from three months old to two and a half years. Friends and family wonder how Carol could have murdered her three daughters.

"Good Mother" (05:08)
Friends and family describe Carol as gentle, loving, and compassionate. While raising her daughters, she takes online classes. A bond between a mother and child is supposed to be sacred. Every year, 800,000 new mothers experience postpartum mental illness.

Postpartum Depression (03:22)
Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in the first year of a baby's life. Multiple children, and economic and relationship stressors cause mothers to snap. Rudy Coronado places flowers on the graves of his daughters.

Carol's Upcoming Trial (04:22)
Carol faces life in prison if she is convicted of first-degree murder. Stephen Allen believes that she experienced postpartum psychosis. Dr. Torang Sepah describes how Carol arrived in an almost catatonic state.

Coronado Children (09:22)
Rudy sells auto parts at a swap meet to earn income. Carol is the primary caregiver for her daughters while attending college. Friends and family trace Carol's emotional state through her three unplanned pregnancies.

Perinatal Illness (06:41)
Three out of four women experience the "baby blues." Postpartum depression develops within the first six weeks; sleep deprivation and panic attacks occur. Women share how their disorder manifested.

Court Hearing (04:14)
Rudy tells the press at the Compton City Courthouse that Carol suffered from postpartum psychosis. Julie Piercey discusses how Carol heard voices advising her to kill her children.

Postpartum Psychosis (05:49)
Symptoms include confusion, hallucinations, delusions, and hearing voices. Mothers must be separated from their babies; 4% commit infanticide. Angela Burling describes how she went insane after she stopped nursing her son.

Childhood in Carson (04:02)
Rudy explains how Carol was molested at a neighbor's home when she was five. While serving in the army, she is raped. There is a correlation between early childhood trauma and adult psychotic illness.

Parenting in Isolation (02:03)
The expectation that mothers can parent three small children alone needs to change. Postpartum psychosis can happen to anyone.

Parenting Pressures (02:27)
Carol becomes overwhelmed by caring for her three children and attending school. The family lives in a converted garage. Friends and family recall the weeks leading up to the stabbings.

Day of the Murders (04:42)
Carol leaves seven voicemails for her mother, begging for help. Listen to audio reenactments based on transcripts. Julie Piercey and Rudy discover the three children dead in a bed; Carol stabs herself.

Genesis of Crime (05:01)
Many mothers who commit infanticide also attempt suicide. The U.S. does not have an infanticide law where mothers are charged with manslaughter instead of first-degree murder. States cling to a 19th century definition of insanity.

Murder Trial (05:29)
Emily Spear accuses Carol of planning the murders. Before closing arguments, the defendant experiences a psychotic break. The Court finds Carol guilty of murder in the first degree.

Insanity Defense (04:14)
Spear believes Carol was a nice person but committed heinous crimes. Diana Lynn Barnes testifies how her perinatal illness grew worse after each birth. Carol remains on suicide watch for over a year and is sentenced to three consecutive life terms.

Life in Prison (05:35)
Experts and family react to the verdict. The medical and legal systems are broken; people need to be empathetic to those who suffer from mental illness. Carol is remanded to Chowchilla State Prison; her appeal to the California Supreme Court is denied.

Credits: Not Carol (01:51)
Credits: Not Carol


Copyright Date:

Not Carol



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