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Woman Indicted By Grand Jury In Child Death

February 12, 1986

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) _ A woman who police say is a suspect in the deaths of seven of her children and a foster child has been indicted in the death of one of them, authorities said, but they declined to specify the exact charge.

Mary Beth Tinning, 43, was named in a single indictment in the death of 3 1/2 -month-old Tami Lynne Tinning, chief deputy district attorney Stewart Sanders said Tuesday. Authorities allege that Tami Lynne, who died Dec. 20, was suffocated with a pillow.

Sanders would not say when the Schenectady County grand jury handed up the indictment, and said it would be several days before the contents would be revealed. The panel met Monday.

The Albany Knickerbocker-News cited unidentified sources in reporting Tuesday that the indictment is for second-degree murder. Under New York law, first-degree murder is reserved for the killing of police officers and prison guards.

Police have said they believe only the first of Mrs. Tinning’s children, a girl who died in the hospital eight days after birth, died of natural causes.

In addition to Tami Lynne’s death, seven other deaths are considered suspicious and are being investigated, police said. The oldest of the children was a 2 1/2 -year-old foster child Mrs. Tinning and her husband were preparing to adopt.

Authorities had earlier attributed the deaths of all the children to natural causes.

Mrs. Tinning was arrested and charged with murder last week in Tami Lynne’s death and has been jailed since then.

Her attorney, Paul Callihan, said Mrs. Tinning is innocent.

Her husband, Joseph, is not suspected in the deaths and has been cooperating with the investigation, police said.