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Woman Indicted By Grand Jury In Child Death

February 26, 1986

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) _ A woman suspected by police of killing eight children was indicted by a grand jury on two charges of second-degree murder in the death of her 4-month- old daughter last December, it was announced today.

The indictment handed up by the Schenectady County grand jury accused Mary Beth Tinning of killing her baby daughter, Tami Lynne, by smothering her with a pillow Dec. 20, said a statement by the district attorney’s office.

Tami Lynne was the ninth Tinning child to die since 1972, and police have said all but the first death are considered suspicious and are being investigated. One of the deaths was that of a boy the Tinnings were preparing to adopt.

Mrs. Tinning, 43, has been jailed since her arrest Feb. 4 on a second- degree murder charge in the death of Tami Lynne. The county grand jury voted Feb. 10 to indict the woman, but the contents of the indictment were not revealed until today. The statement by the district attorney’s office did not explain why the indictment contained two counts.

Mrs. Tinning, who has been held without bail, is expected to be arraigned Friday, the statement said.

Despite growing suspicion and several autopsies, authorities had attributed the children’s deaths to natural causes such as sudden infant death syndrome.

Upon the advice of her attorney, Paul Callihan, Mrs. Tinning did not appear before the grand jury. The attorney, who contends Mrs. Tinning is innocent, has said police may have violated Mrs. Tinning’s rights during her interrogation the day of her arrest.

State Police Capt. Gerald Looney has said Mrs. Tinning made ″statements and admissions″ to police following her arrest. But authorities have refused to elaborate.

Mrs. Tinning’s husband, Joseph, is not suspected in the deaths and has been cooperating with the investigation, police said.