Diane Staudte poisoned her family with antifreeze. Her confession came as shock to friends who thought the family was a tight-knit group. Springfield, Missouri, was where the Staudtes raised their four children. Diane, 51, was a nurse and an organist in her church, and Mark, 61, was lead singer and guitarist in a local blues band.
On the inside though, Diane was tormented with hate for her husband and her free-loading grown children. Diane was the breadwinner of the family and felt that she was the only one contributing. Tired of her family, she hatched a plan to get rid of them one by one, starting with her unemployed husband, Mark, and a bottle of anti-freeze was the key, according to The Mirror. Unfortunately, her favorite child, Rachel, 25, was of like-mind and together they searched the internet for ways to kill their family.
Diane poisoned Mark’s Gatorade with antifreeze and a few days later, in April of 2012, he died in his sleep. She told paramedics she had bugged him for days to go to the doctor because he wasn’t feeling well, but that he had refused. The coroner, seeing no evidence of trauma, ruled it as cardiac arrest and soon Mark was cremated. They were on to their next victim.
The family moved to a different house. Five months after her husband died, Diane targeted her son, Shaun, 26, by poisoning him with antifreeze. He was reportedly socially awkward and “bothered” Diane. She told paramedics he had health problems and had stopped breathing. There was an autopsy but again, it was determined to be death by natural causes. Shaun was quickly cremated as well.
Because the deaths were at different addresses, police didn’t connect the dots and the mother-daughter executioners were free to kill again. Nine months later, in June of 2013, they poisoned the oldest daughter, Sarah. Diane Staudte was disgusted with Sarah for not getting a job to pay off her student loans. Sarah, 27, was taken to the hospital with what Diane described as less serious than flu symptoms. When she was admitted to ICU, someone called in a tip that police needed to look closer at Diane. The doctors were suspicious of poisoning and the nurses noticed Diane’s aloofness.
Investigators reviewed the cases of Mark and Shaun. They tested some of Shaun’s blood from his autopsy and it was positive for antifreeze. As Diane was being interviewed, it wasn’t long before she spilled her feelings about her family and her heinous deeds.
“To put it really short and sweet, I knew they were drinking antifreeze.”
— Nancy Grace (@NancyGraceHLN) April 28, 2016
When it came to her husband, Mark Staudte, she admitted that it was an unhappy marriage and simply told police.
“I hated this guts.”
Diane was unemotional as she told the detective the cold-blooded facts of the case.
“I’ve screwed up everybody. I’ve screwed up my whole family.”
When police search the house, they found Rachel’s diary where she detailed the plans to kill their family. Inside Rachel’s purse they found a poem. Part of it read as follows.
“Only the quiet ones will be left, my mother, my little sister, and me.”
Sadly, Rachel admitted during a police interview that they intended to kill 11-year-old Brianna as well.
Incredibly, Sarah survived her ordeal but she suffers from brain damage. She had to relearn how to walk and talk. She lives in an assisted living facility. Sarah now gives speeches on the dangers of antifreeze.
Diane destroyed her family. Her husband and son are dead, her oldest daughter disabled, her youngest daughter in foster care, and her middle daughter, her favorite, Rachel, will spend most of her life in prison.
Diane Staudte pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and received life in prison without parole, according to ABC News. She escaped the death penalty by a plea agreement. Rachel Staudte, her daughter and accomplice, testified against Diane. Rachel also pled guilty to two counts of murder and will be eligible for parole when she is 65-years-old.
[Photo by Greene County Sheriff’s Office/Associated Press Images]