Diane Downs told emergency room personnel at the hospital where she drove her shot and bleeding children, that a man had flagged her down and subsequently shot her and her three children. Shortly thereafter the Diane Downs murder investigation began.
Diane Downs was ultimately convicted on shooting her three children; Christie, 8; Cheryl, 7; and Danny, 3; and killing Cheryl. She had shot herself in the arm as well; claiming she was shot by the same man who supposedly shot her children.
The motive in the Diane Downs murder case came to light when investigators read her diary. She was involved with a married man who didn't want her children. Eliminating her children seemed her only option. Diane Downs was obviously a very sick woman. Later, during the trial, daughter Christie was able to testify.
When asked who shot her, Christie replied, "My mom."
A book called "Small Sacrifices" was written about the Diane Downs murder case by best selling author Ann Rule. The book was later adapted into a made for TV movie.
Before being sentenced for the shooting of her three children, and the murder of one, Diane Downs had become pregnant; giving birth just days before she was sentenced to prison. The baby was secretly taken away to a community 100 miles away and adopted.
Rebecca Babcock is the name of the child Diane Downs gave birth to before going to prison. For several years she had no idea she was the infamous baby who had been whisked away. In 1987, Babcock's adoptive parents had to tell daycare providers, family members and others close to Rebecca exactly who she was, because Diane Downs had escaped from jail. Babcock didn't find out herself until she was a teenager.
Rebecca Babcock appeared on ABC's 20/20 Friday night, talking about her upbringing and the impact of learning that her biological mother was a child killer.
Diane Downs is still in prison in California. She was denied parole in 2008 and claims she is innocent to this day.
Source: ABC News