september 1989

2

On July 9, 1989, Patricia Stallings and her husband David Stallings rushed to the hospital with their three-month-old son Ryan Stallings after he had been experiencing difficulties with breathing and vomiting for at least two days. The test results reportedly showed that Ryan’s blood contained high levels of ethylene glycol, one of the main ingredients in antifreeze. The Pediatrician who treated Ryan suspected he had been poisoned by either Patricia or David Stallings. Eight days later, Ryan was released from the hospital and placed in a foster home due to the suspicion that his parents might be responsible for the pain little Ryan had to endure. During the time Ryan lived in foster care, the Stallings’ contact to their son was very limited and they were allowed to visit him for one hour one day per week. In September, 1989 three days after Patricia was left alone with Ryan for a brief period of time, he was hospitalized again and died a short time later. She was arrested the following day after Ryan’s death. Unbeknownst to Patricia at the beginning, she was pregnant again and while being in jail awaiting trial, Patricia gave birth to the couple’s second son, David Jr. After being placed in a foster care home, David Jr. displayed the same symptoms the first son of the Stallings’ did, although David Jr. met the criteria for a rare genetic disorder called MMA in which the body can’t properly process certain types of proteins and fats and produces methylmalonic acid, which is identical to the chemicals found in antifreeze. He was treated and fully recovered. However, when Patricia was tried, the judge didn’t allow Stalling’s attorney to present the theory that Ryan’s cause of death wasn’t because of antifreeze poisoning, but MMA. She was convicted of first degree murder and assault and got a life sentence. Months after the sentencing, the case was featured on a show called “Unsolved Mysteries” which biochemist William S. Sly of St. Louis University happened to see. He tested Ryan’s blood and eventually proved that Ryan suffered from MMA. Piero Ronaldo of Yale University also confirmed that the cause of death was indeed MMA. In July, 1991 Patricia was released from jail. On September 20, 1991, all charges were dropped and prosecutors apologized to the Stallings family and on the same day their second son, David Jr, was finally given to his parents.

When Stephen Schap and a woman named Diane met in March 1989, everything seemed perfect. Schap immediately fell in love with Diane and in September 1989 just six months later since both met, they were married. There seemed to be many problems between him and Diane since the beginning of their marriage, supported by the fact that Diane suffered three misscarriages, each more painful for the young married couple. To avoid another misscarriage, Schap then decided to go through a vasectomy. After that decision, Schap did something else that was surprising to Diane: he decided to quit his job and joined the Army. In 1992, he was assigned to work as a helicopter mechanic in Fulda, Germany and took his wife with him. Diane at the beginning seemed to accept the fact that she had to live in Germany, but this quickly changed due to the fact that Schap invested most of the time in his work. Diane became unhappy and frustated and began to believe that there wasn’t any hope for their marriage. When Schap left Fulda in September 1993 for a month to attend a platoon leaders class, she spent some intimate time with one of Schap’s helicoptor crewmans and friends, Gregory Glover and had sex with him. One month later in October, Diane learned she was pregnant with Glover, this led her to split up with Schap. He didn’t accept the fact that Diane wanted to divorce him at the beginning and tried several times to convince her to change her mind. On December 7 Diane was sent to a hospital in Fulda due to pregnancy complications. Since both Schap and Diane were still married, Diane called Schap, with Schap immeditaly leaving his work to visit her in the hospital. He assumed the worst for Diane and was afraid that something could have happened to her. When he arrived at the hospital Diane immediately told him that she was pregnant and that her pregnancy was the result of an affair she had with “someone”, not revealing the name of the father. Schap left the hospital out of shock and was completely distraught about the fact that the reason for her plans to divorce him were indeed because she found someone better than him. He earlier found indications of Diane being unfaithful and already assumed that she had an affair with Glover. Totally devasted by the fact that his wife cheated on him with one of his few friends he had in Germany, Schap in a rush decided to kill Glover. He cut off his head with a knife and left severe stab wounds on his body. Schap then showed up again in the hospital Diane was with a gym bag, pulling out the head of her secret lover, leaving her in a shock. He calmly confessed to the murder of Glover when the police arrived at the hospital.

3

Rage is a novel written by Richard Bachman aka Stephen King, published in 1977, about a high school senior who shoots his algebra teacher and then takes his class hostage.

The book was linked to four school shootings:

  • On April 26, 1988 Jeffrey Lyne Cox took a semi-automatic rifle to school, and held a humanities class hostage for over 30 minutes. No one was fatally injured. Cox had read Rage over and over and strongly identified with the protagonist.
  • On September 18, 1989 Dustin L. Pierce entered a history classroom, armed with a shotgun and two handguns, and took the class hostage. This ended after nine hours with no injuries. Police found a copy of Rage in Pierce’s room.
  • On February 2, 1996 Barry Loukaitis (second picture) shot his algebra teacher and two students, and took his class hostage. When the other students started to panic, Loukaitis said “This sure beats algebra, doesn’t it?”. While this was believed to have been a quote from Rage, the only line in the book that might have inspired that, is “This sure beats panty raids.”
  • On December 1, 1997 Michael Carneal (third picture) opened fire on a group of praying students, killing three and injuring five. A copy of the book was found in his locker. 

The last incident eventually led King to take the book out of print.