When it comes to true crime, nothing is more heartbreaking than stories that involve children. The new documentary, The Missing Children, may very well be one of the most heartbreaking and infuriating true crime stories you’ll ever hear.
Built in 1841, the “Mother’s Home” in Tuam, Ireland, was originally a workhouse for the poor until it was converted in 1925 into a place where unwed, pregnant women were sent by their families and priests because at the time an unwed pregnancy was the ultimate shame. These women were not allowed to keep their children, the babies were adopted out, or worse, they died. And many did die, sometimes only 1 out of 2 children would survive their stay.
The Catholic Church’s facility was run by the order of Bon Secours Sisters, nuns trained as nurses who were reportedly cruel to both the mothers and the children and have been accused of abuse, both physical and mental. It’s also implied that some of the deaths were caused by the nuns through neglect, abuse, and possibly even murder.
Mothers were only allowed to see their babies nurse them, but would often wake up one morning to find their babies taken away during the night to their new families, without their permission. Babies were ripped from their mother’s arms.
There was something secretly happening at the home that would come to light decades after it was shut down that shocked the world when the news came out. In 2014 a historian looking into the home, the deaths, and the illegally adopted children learned of the story of two boys playing on the property who discovered bones in a hole, the possible resting place of 796 missing babies who had been listed as deceased but had no burial place. It took two years and the outcry of the world to get the government to investigate the bones. During the investigation, archeologists uncovered many skeletons of babies, disposed of in a septic tank. The Nuns had thrown the babies away like trash.
The Missing Children dives deep into the story and features interviews with historians, archeologists, survivors, and journalists, and uncovers some of the horrific and heartbreaking treatment that the victims endured. It is an unflinching look at cruelty caused by shame.
The fact that this was just one of the many homes in Ireland is disturbing. Over 57,000 babies went through the system. How many of them are missing?
While the extremely informative and well-done. the documentary is about seeking justice for the victims since the nuns and officials have yet to answer for their cruelty. The bodies of those babies, 796 of them, to this day, remain in the septic tank and have not been laid to rest. The majority of the children who were adopted illegally have yet to be found and may never be reunited with their mothers who never wanted to give them up or meet their siblings who are still searching for them. People need to rise up and demand justice. I can not comprehend how such cruelty and disrespect can go unpunished. It’s been a couple of days now and I can not get the events and the documentary out of my head.
The Missing Children is a “must-see” true crime documentary. It premieres on Topic on March 3, 2022. When you watch it, be sure to have some Kleenex close at hand.