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Christie Downs Miraculously Survived After Her Mother Diane Downs Shot


In the 1980s, Danny and Christie Downs made national news when their mother rushed them to the hospital with life-threatening gunshot wounds.

Many people were taken aback by their narrative, particularly when it was revealed that their biological mother was the one who had been responsible for inflicting the injuries on them.

Today, the tale of the siblings is still being discussed all over the globe, and many people are curious as to what became of them after the experience that they went through.

Who Is Danny And Christie Downs?

Following the horrible tragedy, Cheryl Lynn Downs passed away, leaving just Danny and Christie Ann Downs as Diane Downs' surviving children. Christie and Cheryl were offspring of Diane's marriage with Stephen "Steve" Downs, her ex-husband.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/christie-downs/ by Candice Burns on 2022-09-18T23:57:58.625Z

Between 1973 through 1980, the two were married. Steve dumped Diane because he thought she was having an extramarital affair.

Danny, sometimes known as Daniel Downs, was purportedly the result of a liaison between Diane and a different guy.

She later had a fourth child, Amy Elizabeth, in 1984 with yet another guy. Later, Amy Elizabeth changed her name to Becky Babcock thanks to her adoptive parents.

How Diane Downs Shot Her Children In Cold Blood

Christie Downs Mother, Father, and siblings
Christie Downs Mother, Father, and siblings

Diane Downs consented to undergo artificial insemination in exchange for a $10,000 contract and the surrogacy opportunity in September 1981.

The child, who was born on May 8, 1982, was given to her legal guardians. But Downs went through the procedure once again, spending three days at a fertility clinic in Louisville, Kentucky, in February 1983.

The remainder of Christie's family was then taken to Springfield, Oregon, by Diane in April.

Downs was content to live close to her parents and even took a job with the U.S. Postal Service on the purported promise that Knickerbocker, her then-boyfriend, would follow if his divorce was completed. Knickerbocker, however, later broke from the union.

Six weeks later, on May 19, 1983, on a seemingly routine trip on Old Mohawk Road, Diane Downs shot Christie Downs and her siblings with a gun.

One .22-caliber bullet was shot into each of the children by their mother after she pulled over and retrieved her weapon. Then, thinking they would die before she got there, she shot herself in the forearm and sped off to the hospital at five miles per hour.

When I looked at Christie I thought she was dead,

McKenzie-Williamette Medical Center's Dr. Steven Wilhite said.

Her pupils were dilated. Her blood pressure was non-existent or very low. She was white… She was not breathing. I mean, she is so close to death, it’s unbelievable.

Wilhite remembered Diane's expressionless reaction when he broke the news to her that Christie had had a stroke and was in a coma. When she proposed to him to "pull the plug" as she was already "brain dead", he was astonished.

Christie Downs was placed under the legal guardianship of Wilhite and another physician so they could treat her without interference.

Sadly, Cheryl Downs had already passed away from her injury. Danny Downs lived, but he would never be able to walk again.

Within 30 minutes of chatting to their mother, Wilhite felt that the 28-year-old was guilty. Police detained her on February 28, 1984, despite the fact that they were unable to locate the murder weapon.

Christie Downs’ Young Life Before The Shooting

Christie Downs With Her Mother And Siblings
Christie Downs With Her Mother And Siblings

On October 7, 1974, Christie Ann Downs was born in Phoenix, Arizona. She was joined by Cheryl Downs on January 10, 1976, and Stephen Daniel "Danny" Downs on December 29, 1979, becoming Diane Downs' oldest child.

Unfortunately for the three young children, Steve and Diane's Downs were already on the verge of a contentious divorce.

Some Facts About Diane Downs, Christie Downs's Mother

  • Diane Downs, who was born Elizabeth Diane Frederickson on August 7, 1955, was originally from Phoenix.
  • She would later confess that her local postal worker's father had molested her when she was a young child. Then she met Steve Downs at Moon Valley High School.
  • The newlyweds graduated together, but when Diane attended Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in Orange, California, Steve joined the U.S. Navy.
  • Within a year, she was eventually expelled for promiscuity. In Phoenix, the pair joyfully reconnected before eloping on November 13, 1973, with plans to conceive a family.

Christie Downs was born after a few months, but her parents quickly became dissatisfied. Their days were interrupted by disagreements over money, and their evenings were made up of Steve accusing Diane of being unfaithful. Stephen's father wasn't even certain the child was his when he was born.

In the end, the couple got divorced in 1980. Diane Downs, who was 25 years old, had severely neglected her kids. In order to locate a new companion, she often asked Christie Downs to babysit the younger siblings or left them at their father's place.

She seemed to have found one in 1981, but Robert Knickerbocker was already married and had his own children at the time.

While her children displayed indications of starvation, Downs obsessively wrote about her romance in a journal. Christie Downs was unaware that her mother will leave her shortly, putting Christie at grave risk.

Is Diane Still Alive?

Diane is a person who was never worthy of having children. To everyone's amazement, Downs further served as a surrogate for the fourth pregnancy, and she delivered a daughter after her trial in 1984. Critics said that she conceived on purpose to win over the jury's sympathies.

Diane, who is presently incarcerated at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, California, for a life sentence plus 50 years, is very much alive. Since 1993, she's been incarcerated. She had previously served time in a Clinton, New Jersey, a maximum-security facility for women.

On July 11, 1987, when guards were preoccupied, Diane attempted to scale the chain link fence of the Oregon Women's Correctional Center. She made her way to Wayne Seifer's home, where his wife was a prisoner as well. However, a 10-day police manhunt ended with her capture.

Diane tried to simulate a police suicide by grabbing a BB gun, but she soon gave up and departed without incident. Wayne received a five-year probationary term and six months in an Oregon reparation facility while Diane received an extra five years in jail.

Diane has consistently maintained her innocence despite the horrifying act she committed, and she has declared again that she still loves and worries about her children. '20/20' on ABC extensively covered this case.

The 1987 book "Small Sacrifices" by author Ann Rule chronicled Downs' life and murder conviction. A story about Christie is also included in the book. In addition to this, ABC broadcast the made-for-TV film "Small Sacrifices" in 1989. Diane ought to have been executed for what she did, didn't she?

People Also Ask

How Old Was Christie Downs When Her Parents Divorced In 1980?

She was five years old when her parents divorced in 1980.

From Where Did Christie Ann Downs Come From?

Phoenix, Arizona.

What Was Elizabeth Diane Frederickson's Birth Date?

August 7, 1955.


Diane Downs is still serving a life sentence for her crime. Her most recent parole hearing in 2021 resulted in a denial. Christie Downs still has trouble communicating due to her speech impairment.

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About The Authors

Candice Burns

Candice Burns - Candice Burns has worked in the real estate industry for a long time. She understands the importance of a home for long-term happiness and has dedicated her career to placing people in the home of their dreams. Candice's passions for helping others during difficult times and a strong interest in high-end, luxury homes drove her to explore real estate. She's been in the real estate business for ten years and has helped over 3,500 people find homes during that period. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Los Angeles. She's worked with some of Los Angeles' most prestigious real estate firms.

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