Nee: Cross, Sanders, Pulliam, Harris…
Born: 14 March 1946
Active: 1964 to 1985
Location: United States of America
Method of Disposal: Gunshot, starvation
Consequence: Life Imprisonment
- Clifford Sanders (first husband)
- Sheila Knorr (daughter)
- Suesan Knorr (daughter)
- Terry Knorr (daughter)
Theresa Knorr was a woman who craved attention. She fell quickly for any man who made her the centre of his world, and married him just as quickly. She had a possessive nature, however, and eventually drove her men into the arms of other women. At least that was what she told herself after each of her four marriages failed. Her first husband, Clifford Sanders, had found this out to his detriment one night. He threatened to leave. She pulled a gun. The judge later found a clear case of self-defence. Theresa was only 18-years-old at the time and clearly not capable of murder.
With all these marriages came the inevitable brood of children. By 1970, there were six in total. Three boys and three girls. That many kids required a good measure of discipline. You know, spare the rod and spoil the child, and other tried and true parenting formulas. Indeed, no one could say her children was spoiled. She ruled her home with an iron fist. Or an iron bar, chair leg, cigarette lighter. Whatever was within reach, really.
She kept all her children out of trouble in this way. None of them escaped her teachings. However, her attention was centred mostly on her older daughters, Sheila and Suesan. She didn’t like how pretty they were getting. She didn’t like how much attention this beauty might attract. Attention that might be diverted away from her. Theresa didn’t like that. Not one bit.
Thankfully, her boys were more obedient. They would always do exactly as they were told, no matter what task she set them. For example, Theresa came to realise that simply beating her daughter Suesan into unconsciousness wouldn’t be enough after the girl started running away from home and telling her school counsellor horrendous tales about how she was being abused. She was convinced that one of her ex-husbands had introduced Suesan into a cult and her daughter was now doing Satan’s bidding. When Suesan was returned home after running away again, Theresa enlisted the help of her sons to beat the devil out of her eldest daughter.
It seemed to do the trick, as Suesan was much more subdued afterwards. For good measure, Theresa made sure that Suesan was handcuffed to her bed for a while so she wouldn’t be able to run back to Satan.
The handcuffs were eventually removed, but Theresa still didn’t trust the girl. Things would get better for a while and then Suesan would act up again. It didn’t seem to matter what Theresa threw at the Dark Lord (fists, a pair of scissors in Suesan’s back) he just wouldn’t learn. Theresa even shot a bullet from a .38 revolver into Suesan’s chest, but to no avail.
One day, Suesan decided she needed to move out of the family home. Theresa agreed it was for the best, but she asked Suesan if she could have her bullet back. She might need it if Satan ever reappeared in one of the other children. Lead was hard to come by in those days. After a few stiff bourbons and a handful of sleeping pills, Suesan was ready for surgery. The bullet was removed, and Suesan stayed on the kitchen floor ‘recovering’.
Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful. Theresa asked her sons if they would be good boys and prepare the family sedan for a trip.
Things got better around the Knorr home after that. There was even some extra money, which her now eldest daughter Sheila obligingly brought in from her new profession as a Lady of Negotiable Affections. Theresa was proud of her daughter’s achievements, until one day she discovered that she had caught something her daughter had brought home from her job. What made it worse was that Sheila denied she had done anything. Denied it to Theresa’s face!
There was only one thing for Theresa to do in such a circumstance. Being handcuffed to the bed wasn’t going to be enough this time. In order to force a confession out of Sheila, Theresa locked her in a cupboard until she admitted her awful crime. The other kids were ordered not to open the door for any reason, and Sheila was to be given no sustenance until she came clean.
After three days, there were no more sounds coming from behind the door. There was a smell though. Theresa told her youngest daughter to get a box for her sister because the boys needed to take her for a drive.
It was at around this time that the youngest daughter, Terry, decided that there was definitely a pattern forming against the young women of the house. She asked her mother if she could move out, and after dousing the family home with lighter fluid and setting it on fire like Theresa asked her to, she was granted her wish. Theresa advised her against mentioning her sisters to anyone. No need to bring up such unpleasantness.
A few years, a couple of stays in prison, and a few crates of bourbon later, Terry decided that she did want to talk about her sisters. A lot. She sat down with the police and told them her story.
As it turned out, the police had been wondering why they had two unidentified women sitting in cold storage when no one was hollering about one missing girl, let alone two.
All the remaining members of the family had become relatively hard to find, except for Theresa’s son William who had perfected the lessons taught by his mother and was serving time for a murder he’d committed independent of his mother’s coaching. Theresa and her two protegés William and Robert were eventually arrested and charged with the murders of both Suesan and Sheila. Being confronted with such a high price for honouring his mother’s wishes, Robert turned against Theresa in return for a much lighter sentence.
When she realised that her boys were beginning to abandon her, Theresa decided to try to avoid a harsh punishment by pleading guilty. Unfortunately for her, it was a little too late for her and she was sentenced to two consecutive life terms. She will not be getting much change out of her twilight years if she lives that long.
Proof positive that for some people, having children really is a life sentence.