FOX Files: Illinois woman asks for freedom after 1990 conviction for killing her two infant daughters


ST. LOUIS — The Paula Sims case captivated the nation when police found she’d killed her two baby girls and lied about it back in the late 80s. Though serving a life sentence, she’s now being considered for early release because of a new Illinois law that gives women a chance for a re-sentencing hearing if they suffered from a maternal mental illness.

Paula Sims spoke from her prison, Logan Correctional Center North of Springfield, Illinois. Two psychologists also testified about why they thought she should be released.

“I just pray that you will seriously consider granting me parole,” Sims said during the Prisoner Review Board hearing adding, “I grieve the loss of my daughters Loralie and Heather. I love them. I miss them.”

Now 62 years old, Sims has been serving more than 30 years in prison.

Alton, Illinois Police arrested her in 1989 for the murder of her six-week-old daughter Heather, who was found in a trash can. Sims later admitted killing another baby daughter, Loralie, three years earlier in 1986. She’d reportedly told police both times that someone had kidnapped her daughters.

Two psychologists told the review board today that Sims was suffering from a rare disorder called Postpartum Psychosis.

“Paula is no longer mentally ill. She hasn’t been in a long, long time and she’s no danger to anyone,” Dr. Diane Sanford said.

Dr. Susan Feingold said, “Everything she’s done since, flies in the fact that a woman with intentional malice and forethought killed her children.”

Sims added, “I have such guilt. I wish I would have been strong enough to reach out to professionals (back then).”

Sims did not use Postpartum Psychosis as a defense at her 1990 trial and Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine wrote a letter to the review board opposing her release.

The board member who listened to today’s testimony will take the case before the full board next month for a final decision.

It’s unclear where Sims would go if released. Her ex-husband and surviving male son died in a car crash in 2015.

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