'20/20' PRESENTS TWO-HOUR DOCUMENTARY ON DIANE DOWNS, A MOTHER WHO SHOT HER THREE YOUNG CHILDREN POSSIBLY DUE TO HER INFATUATION WITH A MARRIED MAN
Special TV Event Has Rare Interview With Diane's Youngest Child, Born While Diane Was in Prison and Adopted by Another Family
'20/20' Airs Friday, March 22 (9:00 - 11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC
A mother's infatuation with a married man who said he had no interest in being a father to anyone's children was the possible motive behind the crimes of Diane Downs, who shot her three young children in her car, seriously injuring two and killing one. Diane captured the nation's attention as the story made headlines and became a bestselling book and a two-part TV series starring Farrah Fawcett, both titled "Small Sacrifices." Now, 36 years after that tragic day, Diane's youngest child, Becky Babcock, who was born while Diane was incarcerated and adopted by another family, speaks to "20/20" in a new interview. In the two-hour "20/20" documentary, Becky opens up about her adoption, learning the truth about her mother, letters from her mother in prison and life now, including raising her teenage son. "20/20" airs Friday, March 22 (9:00 - 11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.
The "20/20" documentary event features brand-new interviews with Doug Welch, lead investigator on the case; Wayne Seifer, ex-husband of one of Diane's fellow inmates, who housed Diane when she escaped from the Oregon Women's Correctional Center in 1987; Loren Glover, detective with the Oregon State Police when Diane escaped; Steven Wilhite, surgeon on call the night Diane brought her children in to the hospital; Anne Jaeger, former anchor at KEZI, an ABC News affiliate, who covered the case and interviewed Diane just before her arrest; Jim Pex, former criminalist with the Oregon State Police Crime Detection Lab, who assisted in the investigation; and more. The documentary also features footage from the ABC News archives, including an interview with author Ann Rule, who passed away in 2015.
On May 19, 1983, Diane arrived at an emergency room in Springfield, Oregon, claiming that a man flagged her down in the middle of an isolated road and shot her children through the window. As the days went by, Diane's demeanor raised red flags as she was seen giggling and smiling while discussing the shooting. After uncovering the possible motive, police arrested her on the basis of significant forensic evidence and eye-witness testimony from her 9-year-old daughter, Christie. During Diane's trial, Christie took the witness stand, following months of physical and emotional therapy, and testified that her mom was the shooter. Diane was found guilty, diagnosed with three personality disorders and sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years. She was denied parole in 2008 and 2010, and maintains her innocence.
The documentary on Diane Downs is part of "20/20" two-hour documentary programming featuring brand-new interviews with key players in some of the biggest newsmaker stories in recent American history. The original eight-week two-hour programming lineup has been extended to 15 weeks and will run through April 12. Since the two-hour documentaries premiered on Jan. 4, "20/20" has been Friday's No. 1 newsmagazine each week in all key demos: Total Viewers, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.
"20/20" is anchored by David Muir and Amy Robach. David Sloan is senior executive producer.