In 1991, nineteen-year-old Tammy Marquardt gave birth to a baby boy, Kenneth. Two years later he was dead. Tammy was convicted of his murder and sent to prison for life. Her conviction hinged largely on the evidence given by Dr. Charles Smith, the pediatric forensic pathologist at Toronto's famed Hospital for Sick Children. At the time, Dr. Smith was considered top in his field and his findings were never questioned.
Tammy had two other sons taken away from her by the Children's Aid Society and her sons were adopted out to a new family. She spent fourteen years in prison for a murder she did not commit. Her fortunes turned when an inquiry into the cases of Dr. Charles Smith found that he was unqualified for his position and he had made serious errors in dozens of cases, which led to a series of wrongful convictions of innocent people, including Tammy. Tammy was released on bail in 2009 and eventually acquitted of all charges in 2011.
This book tells how an innocent mother's life was nearly destroyed by an unethical and incompetent doctor and how she fought for and finally received some justice.
"D'Costa's sympathetic account tells a difficult story in accessible language, complete with a glossary of legal terms. Although many of the themes covered in this work (murder, injustice) are complex, the text is empathetic (the line, 'imagine how Tammy must feel' makes repeat appearances). A triumphant tale of justice served. Hand this high-interest title to fans of mysteries and true crime."
- Anne Jung-Mathews, Plymouth State University, School Library Journal
"Written in a breezy style, ...the volume should appeal to reluctant readers, youth who have had their own exposure to the criminal justice system, and more capable readers who are interested in social justice, law, and legal and crime stories."
- Val Ken Lem, CM Magazine
"Stories of false convictions break my heart - especially when it comes to anything about children. I hadn't heard of Tammy Marquardt until I read this book but my heart breaks for her and her family. The writing is straight-forward, appropriately detailed, and well-researched. I appreciate the inclusion of a timeline, index, and glossary at the end of the book. It always makes me happy to see those in a YA non-fiction book. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!"
- Mandy Peterson, Librarian
"I am a massive fan of true crime books and was delighted when I was given the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't aware of the story of Tammy Marquardt until I read the book. You can't help but feel for Tammy after reading the book, she always maintained her innocence and it took far too long for this to be recognised. This was really well written and I sat down and read it in one sitting. There are some cheap true crime books out there at the moment — thankfully this is not one of them. I really enjoyed reading it — just wish it wasn't a true story."
- Donna Maguire, NetGalley Reviewer
"D'Costa skilfully incorporates actual testimony from both Tammy's original and her acquittal trials. This book is a solid encapsulation of Tammy's ordeal and its impact."
- Resource Links
"A truly sad case, in so many ways. This book should have appeal to middle and high school students. It would be interesting to read this book and then research to find out what Tammy Marquardt is doing now."
- Judy Gottschalk, Educator
JASMINE D'COSTA has been published and reviewed nationally and internationally. She writes, acts, and makes films. She was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor Prize and she is the past Writer-in-Residence of the Heliconian Club in Toronto. She lives in Toronto.