Diane Downs
Photo: September 26, 1988
On May 19, 1983, Diane Downs and her three children were shot on a rural road in Oregon. Police scoured the crime scene for months searching for the weapon, a .22-caliber gun that wounded Diane and her 8-year-old daughter Christie, paralyzed her 3-year-old son Danny and killed her 7-year-old daughter Cheryl. The gun was never found.

Early on in the investigation, police claimed Diane was responsible for the shootings of her children, but she publicly voiced her innocence, claiming that a shaggy-haired stranger shot them.

At the trial, Diane's surviving daughter, 9-year-old Christie, took the witness stand and testified that her mother was the shooter. Diane was nine months pregnant when she was convicted on one count of aggravated murder and two counts of attempted murder.

While in prison, Diane scaled an 18-foot razor wire fence and escaped from her Oregon cell in July 1988. There was a 14-state manhunt for her, which she eluded for 10 days. She was recaptured and sent to a New Jersey prison to serve the remainder of her life sentence.
FROM: Diane Downs and Ann Rule
Published on October 22, 2010

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