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Clinical Case Conference   |    
Infanticide in a Case of Folie à Deux
Tahir Rahman, M.D.; Karrisa A. Grellner, M.D.; Bruce Harry, M.D.; Niels Beck, Ph.D.; John Lauriello, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2013;170:1110-1112. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13010027
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Dr. Lauriello has served on an event monitoring board for a clinical trial through a contract with Janssen Pharmaceutica and the University of Missouri and on a data management safety board for a clinical trial through a contract with Shire/PRA and the University of Missouri; he has also served as an adviser through a contract with Otsuka and the University of Missouri. The other authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.

The authors thank Jeff Janofsky, M.D., for editorial comments.

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Address correspondence to Dr. Rahman (rahmantahi@health.missouri.edu).

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association

Received January 07, 2013; Revised February 21, 2013; Revised March 26, 2013; Accepted April 01, 2013.

Extract

We report a case of infanticide of a 4-month-old infant boy by starvation and dehydration. The parents were both charged with murder. The mother suffered from schizoaffective disorder, and the father was diagnosed with shared psychotic disorder (folie à deux) by forensic assessment (T.R.). We describe the couple’s history, including a summary of their delusional beliefs, based on police reports, interrogation videos, an autopsy report, psychological tests, and interviews with several family members.

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TABLE 1.Comparison of Beliefs Held by The Couple and the Church They Attended
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References

Giorgi-Guarnieri  D;  Janofsky  J;  Keram  E;  Lawsky  S;  Merideth  P;  Mossman  D;  Schwart-Watts  D;  Scott  C;  Thompson  J  Jr;  Zonana  H; American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law:  AAPL practice guideline for forensic psychiatric evaluation of defendants raising the insanity defense.  J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 2002; 30(suppl):S3–S40
[PubMed]
 
Lasègue  C;  Falret  JP:  La folie à deux.  Ann Med Psychol (Paris) 1877; 18:321–355
 
Tandon  R:  Getting ready for DSM-5: psychotic disorders.  Current Psychiatry 2012; 11:E1–E4
 
Manschreck  TC:  Delusional disorder and shared psychotic disorder, in  Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 7th ed, vol 1. Edited by Kaplan  HI;  Sadock  BJ.  Baltimore,  Williams & Wilkins, 2000, pp 1243–1264
 
Kraya  NA;  Patrick  C:  Folie à deux in a forensic setting.  Aust NZ J Psychiatry 1997; 31:883–888
[CrossRef]
 
McHugh  PR:  The Mind Has Mountains .  Baltimore,  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006
 
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Infanticide in a case of folie à deux. Am J Psychiatry 2013;170(10):1110-2.