All the time I was writing my piece about the Andrea Yates case and the bigger picture it presented, something nagged at the back of my mind. I seemed to remember a somewhat analogous case, but I couldn’t put together enough details to satisfy even Google. Luckily, earlier today I recalled the case — and naturally, it was from right here in New Hampshire.
Manuel Gehring was a divorced father of two — Sarah, age 14, and Philip, age 11. On July 4, 2003, he took them from their mother at a fireworks show, and they were never seen again.
Gehring apparently took them on a trip halfway across the country. Somewhere along the highways in the midwest, he killed and buried them. There was enough physical evidence (bloodstains in his van, a receipt for a shovel and other burial materials, and the like) to support He was caught and brought back to New Hampshire, where he confessed to the crime, but couldn’t help investigators find the bodies. He eventually killed himself in jail last February, but the bodies of the children have yet to be found.
It’s not a perfect parallel to the Yates case, but there are similarities. I think it’s closer to the Susan Smith or Diane Downs cases, actually, but the principle holds. The opinion that Gehring was a monster is pretty much universal, but the women all had their supporters and defenders.
I’m starting to wonder if it’s because many people see children as an extension of their mother, while the role of fathers has been more and more diminished over the last couple of decades. Could that be a part of it?