Daughter of Convicted Child Killer Diane Downs Opens Up About Relationship With Mom

Downs is serving a life sentence for shooting her three children in order to impress a married man who didn't want kids

Diane DownsCredit: Wikimedia
Diane Downs. Photo: Wikimedia

In 1983, Diane Downs’ three children were brought to an Oregon hospital with gunshot wounds. One died; two survived but had serious injuries.

Downs told investigators that she and her children had been shot in a carjacking, but police found a secret diary detailing her obsession with a married man who did not want kids. After that, she was charged with killing her 7-year-old daughter.

Downs, who still maintains her innocence, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, plus 50 years.

Now Diane’s youngest child is speaking out — 36 years later. Becky Babcock was born while Diane was incarcerated. She was later adopted by another family. In a two-hour 20/20 documentary, Babcock opens up about learning the truth regarding her infamous mom.

“I knew my entire life that I was adopted,” Babcock tells the show in an exclusive clip obtained by PEOPLE. “I can’t remember a specific time when my mom or dad said ‘you’re adopted.’ But when I was about eight years old, I started asking questions about the adoption. There was just a little part of me that felt like I was searching for something else. I was searching for that blood tie.”

“I never had questions about my biological dad,” Babcock continues. “It was mainly about my biological mom. What did she look like? What did she do?”

After Babcock found out about her notorious mother, she decided to make contact.

“The first letter I wrote Diane, I must have written 100 times,” she says. “I was nervous. It was exciting. It was scary. I wanted to relate to her — not as a mother, because I had a mother — just as somebody who felt the pain and the emptiness that I felt in that time.”

“She wrote back super quickly,” Babcock says. “When I looked in the mailbox and saw her letter, it was like Pandora’s box. ‘Do I open it? Do I throw it away? Did I make a mistake?'”

“I didn’t just tear it open and start reading,” Babcock tells the show. “I sat and I thought about it for awhile, and I chose to open that letter. I chose to, in a sense, allow her into my life.”

Babcock’s exclusive interview airs on 20/20 on Friday, March 22 (9:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET) on ABC.

Related Articles