Wednesday, April 05, 2006

`This was a tragic family situation'

Mom held in slaying of 34-year-old woman with cerebral palsy

By James Kimberly and Angela Rozas, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporter William Presecky and freelance reporter Rita Hoover contributed to this report
Published April 5, 2006

Kane County authorities Tuesday charged a St. Charles woman with the stabbing death of her disabled 34-year-old daughter, calling the incident that also involved their car plunging off an embankment a family tragedy.

First-degree murder charges were filed against Betty C. Whitten, 57, who was pulled from the mangled wreckage of the car Monday in downtown St. Charles along with the body of her eldest daughter, Nyakiambi Whitten.

The daughter, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities at age 2, had been stabbed three times with a kitchen butcher knife in the family's home in the 42W500 block of Hawk Circle in unincorporated Kane County on Monday morning, Sheriff Kenneth Ramsey said.

Soon afterward, Betty Whitten crashed the family's 2002 Hyundai sedan through a guardrail near the Prairie Street Bridge. It flipped on its roof in Mt. St. Mary's Park along the Fox River. Police said they believe Nyakiambi Whitten was dead before she was put into the car.

Ramsey would not discuss a possible motive for the crime other than to say that Betty Whitten was under pressure from circumstances in her life and from caring for her disabled daughter.

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