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Summary

The dark double life of Ellen Boehm, the mother who murdered her two sons - and nearly killed her daughter

Ellen Boehm, a single mom from St. Louis, Missouri, appeared devoted to her children. But in reality, she was unequipped for motherhood, financially strapped, and desperate. Within a year of each other, her sons, ages two and four, died mysteriously, and Boehm's eight-year-old daughter then suffered a near-fatal mishap when a hair dryer fell into the girl's bath. While neighbors wondered how Boehm remained so calm through it all, Det. Sgt. Joseph Burgoon of St. Louis Homicide had darker suspicions.

Burgoon soon unraveled a labyrinth of deception, greed, and obsession that revealed a cold-blooded killer whose get-rich-quick scheme came at the cost of her children's lives. Boehm had taken out insurance policies on her children with six different companies totaling nearly $100,000. Using police reports, case documents, and photos, journalist John Coston recreates the events that led to one mother's unspeakable acts of filicide - and a cop's relentless pursuit of the truth.

©1995 John Coston (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Sleep, My Child, Forever

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A chillingly awful case

I'm not sure I've learnt much from this book, other than that there are some people on this earth who are more evil than I could ever imagine.
It is good to hear the story covered in length here, rather than the small news items and Youtube 'documentaries' that never give the full, rounded details. Well written, everything I feel I need to know was covered, so the book doesn't leave me with unanswered questions as some books do.

2 people found this helpful

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Very robotically read

The narrator is terrible on this audio. No feeling no dynamic, At times l thought it was computerised voice.

2 people found this helpful

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Constant focus on the women’s weight.

I had to stop listening because the first chapter is too focused on the women’s weight and as someone who has had eating disorders it made me feel nauseous

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fat phobic comments in the entire book

Great telling of this murderer, HOWEVER

the repeating " fat and therefore undesireable" commentary is unnecessary. she was not well liked due to her personality first and foremost

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book

enjoyed this. Very good read, and good narrator. Worth listening to. Finished it quickly.
Bit slow at first, but persevere as it's worth the listen .

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Not as in depth as I would have liked.

I thought that too much was made of the descriptions of the murderess as`fat', 'un-attractive' & 'cold'. That's an opinion not fact. The account was lacking psychological analysis. The narration was fine.

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Gripping!

Took a bit of getting into, but worth a listen. Detailed insight of Ellen bohem live and murder of her children. Narrated well, great find as it was free with my audible account

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Good listen, but horrid story!

Its horrible listening to something like this, it was told well i thought. Those poor children 😢

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  • Shanonymous
  • 15-08-20

Can I Give Minus Stars?

Not sure what's worse....the narrator or the book itself. There was ZERO emotion. He didn't even read the chapter titles to - at the very least - break up the monotony.

The book was all over the place. If you've ever done any illegal drug to excess and tried to have a conversation.... yeah, that's how it rambles. There's no chronology, no.... anything.

The ONLY part of this book that was even remotely acceptable was the very beginning about Stacy and the hairdryer.

After that.... good luck following the story. This narrator should be banned from reading audiobooks. I deserve my money back, a free credit, and a free toaster for painfully making it through the first 6 chapters (which I didn't realize were even chapters because mono-narrator didn't stop to tell the names until I stopped the book - then went to look to see how far in I'd survived); these chapters actually have titles!

Listening to this was akin to eating food you really hate at a restaurant that you would otherwise normally like, and finding larvae in your undercooked dish. When you complain, the manager not only doesn't give you a refund, but steals your wallet, locks you out, taunts you through the window, plants narcotics in your wallet without you seeing, returns it, then calls the police on you when you're driving away. Getting yourself out of that might be a little less painful than reading this.

In fact, I would've stopped at least 3 chapters sooner, but my phone was just out of my reach, and my dog was super comfortable lying on my legs and I didn't want to disturb her.

Go read War & Peace in Gaelic and see if that makes more sense. Instead of "Sleep, My Child, Forever," John Coston should've called this "Burn, My Book, Forever."

23 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Dwayne B.
  • 28-08-20

Interesting story which needed more editing

I didn't buy this. It was in a free section. So I have zero cause for complaint. I did finish it but I'm glad I didn't pay for it. The story of Ellen and what she did was interesting but it went on and on and repeated things throughout. It probably mentions her weight about 40 times throughout, and even exacting weight of her friend. It was almost weird. Like yes, we get it, she was unattractive and wanted to live in a fantasy about being desired. It wasn't just this, but that's an example of the repetitive nature of this book.
The other thing which dragged it down was narration. The narrator read with no tone or inflection in many parts of the book. He was robotic, sounding like GPS directions.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Linda M. Braubitz
  • 09-02-21

Fat shaming

Listening to this book made me cringe. Why the focus on the weight and fat shaming? This woman was horrid, that was her shame, not her weight. “321 pounds to be exact”. At first I thought there was some sort of connection between her weight, that number and the story. But the more I listened, I realized it was the author’s bias, nothing else. I don’t think I will be listening to anything by John Coston again. Geez.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Makayla
  • 31-08-20

Great Book, Tragic Story

I had never heard of this case... but oh my gosh. I finished this book in two days, and for me.. that's saying something. I would definitely recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Marsha L. Woerner
  • 19-06-20

How sad!

(As posted in GoodReads)
What a sad situation! I would love to say that Ellen was a monster, but that sounds the situation up far too tidily and simplistically! She probably was, but her overall childhood and upbringing are doubtless a part of her character and actions later in life. The book was good as far as it went, but that background and upbringing deserved a more formal investigation for the reader to get an overall view of the troubled woman.
This is not to say that a horrible childhood and early circumstance excuse later actions, but a little more background in those areas would have been helpful. I weep for Ellen and Stacy both! I don't weep for the boys, because there's no point: they're dead :-(

4 people found this helpful

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  • Liz Grimes
  • 05-03-20

Not there

Did not like the story teller made it very hard to follow. I believe may have been better if different person

4 people found this helpful

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  • R. Brooks
  • 02-06-21

In my neck of the woods

I loved everything about thos bood or audio book.
I live on the out skirts of St. Louis so knowing all the streets names or locations made this story that much more appealing.
Loved the story!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tonia H.
  • 01-06-21

riveting!

I loved it! it was engrossing. I didn't want to pause it. chilling. the story? well written. the narrator? enunciated and well paced. highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer Hing
  • 27-05-21

Incredibly interesting

What an interesting true crime story. The performance was amazing and the details were really well laid out. I’m shocked at what happened, and as a true crime reader, I’m really happy I selected this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mel and Em
  • 22-05-21

very interesting

it's crazy to think a mother would do that it is a crime I have not known about this was very well written and I highly recommend

2 people found this helpful