The 7-Year-Old Boy Who Tried to Kill His Mother

Aired on 02/18/2011 | CC tv-pg
Laurie Ferris knew what it was like to have a son. She knew about the high energy level, the wild activity and the rough play style that comes with having a child as outspoken as her Zachary was. However, unlike most mothers, Laurie also knew what it was like to fear for her life, living in the same home as a son who had once tried to kill her.

From the time he was a toddler, Zachary began exhibiting behaviors that Laurie sensed were "not normal." "When he was angry, it was over the top. It wasn't like a normal tantrum," she said. "Everything with him was magnified 10 times. ... I knew in my heart something was very wrong."

As Zachary got older, his acts of aggression became more extreme. He screamed, threw toys at his parents, punched holes in the wall and even tried to stab a fellow student with scissors.

Although the violent tantrums continued to escalate, nothing could prepare Laurie for what happened next. Watch as she recalls a moment of terror in the video above.

Original airdate: February 18, 2011

Watch an update with Laurie and Zachary on Oprah: Where Are They Now?