Loralei (1986) & Heather Sims (1989), Jersey & Madison Counties, Illinois
Paula Marie Sims were charged, tried and convicted of murdering two of her three children Loralei and Heather on June 17, 1986 and April 29, 1989. She was sentenced to life in prison February 2, 1990 and lives at the Logan Correctional Center. She is ineligible for parole. Denial of her appeal was decided June 11, 2001.
It was believed that her then-husband Robert was involved but was never charged.
Loralei died approximately 6 weeks after her birth on June 17, 1986. The coroner stated that someone placed their hands over her nose and mouth until she suffocated. Paula admitted she intentionally deprived Loralei of oxygen needed to sustain life, but said she held her under water until she drowned. Her remains were tossed into a wooded ravine until Jersey County authorities found her body. Paula reported that there was a mysterious masked intruder that appeared inside her home and kidnapped the newborn. During the investigation, the Sim family moved to Madison County.
Loralei's disappearance went silent.
In 1989 Paula reports of another abduction by the same mysterious intruder taking her other newborn daughter Heather. Days after that reported abduction, Heather's remains were found wrapped in a small plastic trash bag stuffed into a public park trash barrel.
Authorities removed the third child, Randall from the home.
Paula was charged with First Degree Murder, Obstructing Justice and Concealment of a Homicidal Death. Shortly after the jury gave their guilty verdict, and before the sentencing phase of the trial, Paula admitted to her attorney that she killed her two daughters.
Paula insisted she committed their murders alone and the she had drowned them both. She said she left Heather's body in the park for four days before she was discovered which contradicted the coroner's findings.
Paula attempted every avenue to appeal her conviction which shows lack of accountability. At the time of her sentencing the death penalty was on the table, but the jury locked which prompted the judge to sentence her to life without parole.
There is a book on this case written by Audrey Becker called 'Dying Dreams'.