New York exec Steven Dym murdered his daughter on Aug. 29, a day after an Illinois mom killed her twin 5-year-old girls. An expert EXCLUSIVELY explains why a parent would kill their child
Why on earth would Steven Dym kill his wife and his innocent 18-year-old-daughter? After slaughtering his family on Aug. 29, the 56-year-old real estate executive took his own life. This tragedy happened a day after another murder-suicide: Celisa Henning 41, shot and killed her 5-year-old twin girls, Makayla and Addison, before turning the gun on herself. These two tragedies are part of an unthinkable phenomenon of parents killing their children. What would cause someone to commit such a horrific act? “There are many different reasons why parents kill their children,” Dr. Carole Lieberman, a Beverly Hills forensic psychiatrist, EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife.com. “A lot of times it has to do with a parent’s self-loathing that they project onto their child because the child is a part of them.”
“Increasingly often, parents kill their children when they are in the midst of a custody dispute. They don’t want their spouse to get custody of the child and they want to punish their spouse for the divorce. Some parents, who kill their child, are mentally ill and hear command hallucinations telling them to do it. And sometimes, when a parent is afraid they won’t be able to care for their child well enough anymore – because of financial, health or other problems – they rationalize that their child is better off dead.”
When asked about what could have caused a parent to turn on their children this way, Dr. Lieberman points to stress. “Parents who kill their kids snap when stress causes them to reach their breaking point,” Dr. Lieberman EXCLUSIVELY explains to HollywoodLife.com. “Most of the time it is an impulsive act. The stressors could include: self-loathing, a custody battle, mental illness, physical illness, financial problems, or health problems.”
Dr. Lieberman also used the Celisa Henning case — in which a mom from Illinois killed her twin girls – as an example of how these types of tragedies don’t happen overnight. “Celisa…had been in a car accident almost two years ago. This caused her to have physical and emotional injuries, for which she saw 20-30 doctors without significant improvement. She recently filed a lawsuit against the other driver, and cited injuries of a “permanent, lasting, disability and disfiguring nature to her body, mind, limbs and nervous system.” It may be that Celisa felt she was no longer able to care for her daughters because of her injuries and rationalized that they would be better off in heaven.
“It may also be that the accident caused Celisa to have a traumatic brain injury,” Dr. Lieberman told HollywoodLife.com, “or caused her to take medication – such as for pain – and it affected her so that she wasn’t in her right mind. Her mother in law has said, ‘She was just at her wit’s end.'” Similarly, Steven Dym was under stress. Though the motive behind his murders wasn’t immediately known, he was accused of stealing $22,000 from a client. Much like Patricia, 50, and Glenn Scarpelli, 53, the Manhattan couple that cited a “financial spiral” as the reason behind their double-suicide on July 28, this financial strain could be the reason behind Steven’s terrible act. While the exact motives behind Steven and Celisa’s decisions may never be completely known, it’s undeniable that their actions have left behind heartbreak and devastation, as their mourning families try to make sense of these killings.