Year
1997
Month Day
June 06

A teenaged mother gives birth and murders her baby at the prom

Eighteen-year-old Melissa Drexler gives birth to a baby boy in the bathroom stall at an Aberdeen Township banquet hall in New Jersey during her high school prom. Maintenance workers called to clean up blood found in the stall discover a bag in the garbage with her dead baby inside. An autopsy later revealed that the baby had been born alive but had been strangled to death.

Drexler’s case drew national attention and outrage, especially since she returned to the dance floor after killing her newborn baby. It was also somewhat curious that she had managed to conceal her pregnancy from everyone she knew.

After arriving at the Lacey Township High School prom with her friends, Drexler immediately went to the women’s bathroom. With her unsuspecting friends outside the stall, she gave birth to her baby boy in about 20 or 30 minutes. She reportedly told her friend, “Go tell the boys I’ll be right out.” Apparently, Drexler cut the umbilical cord on the edge of a metal sanitary napkin box in the stall. Blood tests revealed that she had no trace of drugs or alcohol in her system.

Prosecutors in Monmouth County initially charged Drexler with murder, but she pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter on August 21, 1998. Telling the court that she was remorseful for her actions, on October 29 the teary-eyed girl was sentenced to 15 years in prison with the possibility of parole in three years. She was released on parole after 37 months on November 26, 2001.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

President Jackson rides the Iron Horse

In Ellicott's Mills, Maryland, President Andrew Jackson boards a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train for a pleasure trip to Baltimore. Jackson, who had never been on a train before, was the first president to take a ride on the "Iron Horse," as locomotives were known then. The steam ...read more

Indian army storms Golden Temple

In a bloody climax to two years of fighting between the Indian government and Sikh separatists, Indian army troops fight their way into the besieged Golden Temple compound in Amritsar–the holiest shrine of Sikhism–and kill at least 500 Sikh rebels. More than 100 Indian soldiers ...read more

Battle of Belleau Wood begins

The first large-scale battle fought by American soldiers in World War I begins in Belleau Wood, northwest of the Paris-to-Metz road. In late May 1918, the third German offensive of the year penetrated the Western Front to within 45 miles of Paris. U.S. forces under General John ...read more

Into the Jaws of Death

D-Day: Allies storm Normandy’s coast

On June 6, 1944, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the go-ahead for the largest amphibious military operation in history: Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of northern France, commonly known as D-Day.  By daybreak, 18,000 British and American ...read more

William Quantrill killed by Union soldiers

William Quantrill, the man who gave Frank and Jesse James their first education in killing, dies from wounds sustained in a skirmish with Union soldiers in Kentucky. Born and raised in Ohio, Quantrill was involved in a number of shady enterprises in Utah and Kansas during his ...read more

Train derails in India, killing hundreds

More than 500 passengers are killed when their train plunges into the Bagmati River in India on June 6, 1981. The rail accident—the worst in India to that date—was believed to have been caused when an engineer tried to avoid striking a cow. The nine-car train, filled with ...read more