The Crimes of Child Killer Angela McAnulty

The Most Horrific Case of Child Abuse in Oregon's History

Scales of justice on the judgeÕs bench
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Angela McAnulty sits on death row at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon after pleading guilty to the murder of her 15-year-old daughter Jeanette Maples, whom she literally tortured, beat, and starved to death. McAnulty also pled guilty to altering and destroying evidence in the case.

Angela McAnulty's Formative Years

Angela McAnulty was born on October 2, 1968, in California. When she was 5 years old, her mother was murdered. She spent the remainder of her childhood living with her father and two brothers. Her father was abusive, often withholding food from the children as a form of punishment.

At the age of 16, McAnulty began a relationship with a carnival worker and left home. It was during this time that she became involved with drugs. She later met Anthony Maples, with whom she had three children, two boys, Anthony Jr. and Brandon, and her daughter, Jeanette. She also had another child, a daughter named Patience, by another father.

When Maples and McAnulty were incarcerated on drug charges, the children were placed in foster care. After her release from jail in 2001, McAnulty regained custody of Jeanette and Patience.

In 2002, Angela met and married a long-haul truck driver named Richard McAnulty. They had a son soon after the marriage. By October 2006, the family relocated to Oregon, leaving Anthony Jr. and Brandon behind. The boys had sent letters to a judge requesting to stay in foster care rather than be returned to their abusive mother.

Cries for Help

Born on August 9, 1994, Jeanette Maples spent six of her first seven years in foster care prior to being returned to her mother. According to interviews with family members, Angela began abusing Jeanette soon after the two were reunited.

Described as a good child, Jeanette attended public school and took her studies seriously. She was given perfect attendance awards in the seventh and eighth grade. However, in social interactions, Jeanette had a difficult time. Sent to school wearing torn, dirty tops and worn-out sweatpants, she was sometimes teased by her classmates. Despite her shyness, she managed to make a few friends, although she would only see them at school. Her mother did not allow her to invite friends to her home.

In 2008, after a friend spotted several bruises on Jeanette during gym class, she admitted that her mother did not allow her to eat and that she was abused. The friend told her parents and Child Protection Services (CPS) was contacted but the agency representatives were reluctant to respond to what they called "second-hand" information. A teacher was contacted who spoke to Jeanette who again admitted to being abused. She said was terrified of her mother. The teacher contacted CPS and reported her concerns.

CPS went to the McAnulty home but closed the case after McAnulty denied abusing her daughter and blamed the accusations on Jeanette, whom she described as a compulsive liar. McAnulty subsequently pulled Jeanette out of school, saying that she was going to home school her daughter. This left Jeanette completely isolated and greatly reduced any chances of her getting the help she so badly needed.

In 2009 another call was made to the CPS, this time by an anonymous caller who later turned out to be Lee McAnulty, Jeanette's grandmother. She called CPS after seeing how grossly underweight Jeanette had become. The child also had a split lip, both conditions Angela McAnulty dismissed when it was suggested that she should take her daughter to a doctor.

Over the following months, Jeanette's grandmother called CPS several times but the agency did not follow up on the calls. Her last call was made within days of Jeanette's death.

The Death of Jeanette Maples

On December 9, 2009, at around 8 p.m., Angela McAnulty told emergency personnel responding to a 9-1-1 call made from her home that her daughter Jeanette was not breathing. Paramedics found the small, thin-framed 15-year-old girl in the living room. Jeanette's hair was wet and she wasn't wearing a top. She had no pulse.

McAnulty told the paramedics that Jeanette had fallen down and seemed fine an hour before she stopped breathing. However, a brief exam of the dying girl told a different story. Jeanette had multiple bruises on her face, cuts above her eye, and scars on her lips. She was so emaciated that she looked much younger than her age. Jeanette was transferred to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 8:42 p.m.

The Criminal Investigation

At the hospital, Dr. Elizabeth Hilton examined Jeanette and found that her face was disfigured from severe bruising. There were scars and deep wounds on her head, legs and back, including an exposed femur. Her front teeth were broken and her lips were pulverized. It was determined that Jeanette's dehydrated, starved and beaten body was not a result of a simple fall.

The police searched the McAnulty home and found a blood-splattered bedroom that family members admitted McAnulty tried to clean before calling 9-1-1 to come to the aid of her dying daughter. Richard McAnulty also admitted that Angela wanted to bury Jeanette rather than call 9-1-1 but he had insisted on calling for help. He made the call while Angela attempted to hide evidence of the abuse that had gone on inside the home.

The two children in the McAnulty home were interviewed. Patience told police that Angela and Richard were starving Jeanette and that Angela beat Jeanette repeatedly. She later said that Richard and Angela often struck Jeanette across the mouth with shoes or their hands.

Police Interview of Angela McAnulty

During the first police interview, Angela McAnulty tried to convince detectives that Jeanette's injuries were caused by a fall. She said her husband was responsible for disciplining the children and that she had never hurt Angela.

She changed her story only after investigators apprised her that they had spoken to other family members who'd described the abuse Angela routinely inflicted on Jeanette. When questioned about Jeanette's dehydrated and starved condition, McAnulty said it was a result of ignorance, not neglect. She told detectives, "The reason why she's so skinny, honest to God, is when she split her lip awhile back, I did not know exactly how to feed her."

The investigators continued to challenge McAnulty's version of the facts until she eventually broke and began to tell them what really happened. "I did wrong," she said. "I should never have spanked my daughter with a belt. I shouldn't have done that. That was horrible of me. I shouldn't have done any of that stuff that I did. I shouldn't have done hands up. I understand that. I am very sorry. I don't know how I can take it back."

But when it came to what McAnulty assumed was the final blow that caused her daughter's death, she refused to take the blame. "I didn't do the injury on the head. I did not do that," she told detectives. "I know that she probably died because of the injury on her head, through the skull when she fell down. I did not kill my daughter over a spanking. I didn't do that."

McAnulty told detectives that maybe she should have "taken up smoking" to help relieve the stress that Jeanette caused. "I guess the things she did just got to me," she went on to explain. "I don't know. Honest to God, I don't know. I'm sorry. I am sorry."

Torture and Starvation

Angela and Richard McAnulty were arrested and charged with aggravated murder by "intentionally maiming and torturing" Jeanette Maple. Based on the evidence found at the McAnulty home, autopsy reports, and interviews with the Angela and Richard McAnulty, their children, and other relatives, prosecutors determined that the following took place over the course of several months:

  • McAnulty punished Jeanette regularly using different methods of abuse and torture. To hide the abuse from the other children in the home, she would bring Jeanette into her bedroom, later described by prosecutors as the torture room, turn on the vacuum cleaner to mask the sounds, force Jeanette to strip naked, and then she would repeatedly beat her with leather belts, sticks, and torture her with pliers.
  • Tests on various objects found in the home would later show that they contained blood and pieces of Jeanette's flesh.
  • Jeanette was deprived of food and water for days at a time. She was forced to drink water from the dog's bowl and the toilet bowl to quench her thirst.
  • Dying tissue had been cut away, likely with a knife, from wounds that had become infected to the point of exposing bone on Jeanette's hip.
  • Jeanette was forced to sleep on cardboard so that blood would not seep into the carpet. She was often left tied up after being beaten or forced to kneel with her arms behind her back as if handcuffed.
  • McAnulty forced Patience to collect dog feces from the yard which McAnulty would smear over Jeanette's face and mouth.
  • McAnulty forced Jeanette to stand facing the walls with her arms raised for hours at a time. Often she could only stand on one foot because her other foot was too injured from Angela stomping on it.
  • Angela and Richard McAnulty hit Jeanette across the mouth with shoes and the backs of their hands, which pulverized her lips. Angela refused to get medical help for Jeanette which resulted in her lips healing from the inside out. The scar tissue that formed left her mouth deformed.
  • McAnulty purposely beat Jeanette in areas that she had already caused severe damage, resulting in old wounds opening up and becoming infected.

​Disturbing Testimony by Jeanette Maples' Half Sister

​According to testimony given by Patience, the half-sister of Jeanette Maples, Angela McAnulty began abusing Jeanette as soon as she regained custody of the child who was 7 years old at that time.

Patience also spoke about an incident just days before Jeanette died, during which McAnulty showed her a wound about the size of a quarter on the back of Jeanette's head. McAnulty made the comment that if someone was “stabbed in the back of the head with a branch, it would cause brain damage.” Patience went on to testify that by that time, Jeanette was acting strange and was incoherent.

When asked about what she remembered during the time that Jeanette was first returned to McAnulty, Patience said that after McAnulty married Richard McAnulty in 2002, Jeanette was locked in a back bedroom so that she would “not really be part of the family.” She went on to describe how she witnessed both Angela and Richard abusing Jeanette, which including beating her with shoes and depriving her of food.​

Sentencing

Angela McAnulty was sentenced to death for the torture and murder of her daughter. Richard McAnulty was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole until serving 25 years. He denied directly abusing Jeanette but admitted that he failed to protect her from her mother or to report the abuse to authorities.

Anthony Maples v. Oregon Department of Human Services

The State of Oregon agreed to pay $1.5 million to the estate of Jeanette Maples in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her biological father, Anthony Maples, who was the sole heir to Jeanette Maple's estate. It was determined that beginning in 2006, and ending with a call that was received the week before her death, CPS agents failed to investigate four reports of possible abuse of Jeanette Maples by her mother.

Anthony Maples had no contact with his daughter for nearly 10 years prior to her murder, nor did he attend her memorial service. Under Oregon law, only a deceased person's parents, spouse, or children can be considered legal heirs. Siblings, who are not considered legal heirs, are unable to share in an estate.