Amy Grossberg was an eighteen year-old college freshman, the daughter of a wealthy couple, and pregnant. The only other person who knew was her boyfriend, Brian Peterson.
Twice the couple drove to an abortion clinic. Twice Amy backed out. What if she got an infection and her parents found out?
Adoption? No way! Giving birth would surely result in her family learning of her “mistake.”
At any cost, Amy Grossberg did not want her family to know she was sexually active, much less pregnant. And ever the faithful and dutiful boyfriend, Brian Peterson kept their secret.
On the night of November 12, 1996, however, there would be no more hiding her pregnancy. Amy was in labor. A baby was coming, ready or not.
Calling Brian, the couple rushed to a Delaware hotel where Amy delivered a 6 pounds, 2 ounce baby boy. As the infant lay still attached to his mother by the umbilical cord, Brian covered him with a towel and the couple tried to decide what to do. For Amy, it was simple, “Get rid of it! Get rid of it!,” she demanded.
And that’s what Brian Peterson did. Tearing the cord, he placed the baby into a garbage bag and tossed it into the dumpsters behind the hotel.
These two teens may have gotten away with murder had it not been for the ignorance when it came to the placenta. In just a matter of hours, Amy Grossberg would be lying in a hospital and Brian Peterson would find himself in the proverbial hot seat with doctors and cops wanting to know where the baby was.
In his book Always In Our Hearts: The Story Of Amy Grossberg, Brian Peterson, The Pregnancy They Hid And The Baby They Killed, author Doug Most does a fabulous job of laying out the facts of this well-publicized case of neonaticide in Delaware.
While Most’s does seem to have an opinion about these teenage killers (and who couldn’t?!), it’s obvious he’s trying to keep it to himself as he delivers “just the facts,” including all the “medical expert opinions” on whether the baby was alive or stilborn, so as to allow readers to form their own conclusion – and boy did I ever form one! (see below)
If I had one complaint, it would have to be the redundant proclamation in the beginnings (and some in the latter portions of the book) about how those raised in Wyckoff, New Jersery, are raised with such high expectations and about how these “poor little rich kids” simply cannot disappoint their parents. I got it the first ten times, didn’t need to hear it ten more.
But, in all fairness, I’m certain Most was setting the scene, delving into the psychological dynamics for readers to get a sense of life as a whole for this kids. And I admit I wasn’t much sympathetic to begin with so…
I liked Always In Our Hearts and do recommend it. I love a book that serves a duo purpose and this one does: (1) Tell me all about the case and (2) offers life skills lessons for parents and children. Personally, if I had my way, this would be mandatory reading for high schoolers and their parents.
What’s Your Thoughts?
Updates from this book:
Amy Grossberg established a high-end greetings card company with her parents after her release from prison. The company is called “Just Because” with a website at www.justbecauseinvitations.com. In 2009, Amy held a “Girls Night Out” at LUA in Hoboken, New Jersey, and acted as a fundraiser for, ironically, underprivileged children. It was reported as late as 2010 that Amy still resides with her parents.
Brian Peterson moved to Florida after his release and eventually married. As of 2010, he reportedly has no children. He appears to quiet life and intentionally tries to stay out of the spotlight.
MY PERSONAL OPINION… (WARNING, contains spoilers!)
Amy Grossberg gets no pass from me, nor does Brian Peterson. But, for now, I’m only going to address Amy.
I have been an unwed, pregnant eighteen year-old. I came from a very religious family. Having not even graduated high school themselves, there was high hopes I’d go to college.
I got pregnant on my high school graduation night.
It took me five months to tell my parents and I didn’t even really then, just left enough “clues” for them to figure it out.
With only five years age difference between Amy and myself, I understand the lack of “education” available “back then” about resources for girls in our position. I even understand the fear of telling your parents. I understand the dread that comes with knowing you’ll disappoint those with such high expectations of you. I understand the youthful fear of being “talked about” by your peers when you’ve been “caught” doing something “like that” – even if they’re doing the same “thing” and really have been nothing more than “lucky.”
But never did I consider murder an option.
And I for certain knew and understood that if I delivered the baby without some sort of medical assistance, the possible consequences to myself and my newborn baby. I was by no means a legal scholar but I knew failure to get help for the baby was a criminal act. Civics 101.
As well, I knew the cut umbilical cords of stillborn babies DO NOT pump blood. Understanding it takes a beating heart to squirt blood is a BASIC biology lesson.
There is denial and then there is selfishness.Amy Grossbergwas all about the latter. She was willing to do anything to keep her parents from knowing. ANYTHING.
Not once did she consider she could deliver anonymously at a hospital and leave the baby for adoption. It didn’t take actual laws for people to abandon newborns at hospitals, churches, or fire stations. Where in the world do people think the “baby in a basket on the doorstep” stories came from??!! Safe-haven laws aren’t original concepts!
If I knew that, I’m sure this well-educated at one of the best schools in America kids knew it was well.
But this “cream of the crop” student believed she could honestly outwit everyone.
She was wrong.
Not only did her parents find out about the baby, but they also learned their daughter was a murderer. But, as any parent in that position would do, if they could, the Grossbergs paid big money for hired guns to come in an protest the infant was stillborn.
Truth of the matter is it was all about her. Amy would disappoint her parents. Amy would be the subject of gossip. It would ruin Amy’s life.
Amy! Amy! Amy!
Well, for all intents and purposes, Amy got away with it. Plain and simple.
While Baby Grossberg-Peterson returns to dust in his grave, Amy is going about life as if nothing happened. Showing not an ounce of humility, she still sports her well-known name and frequently appears in the society pages.
She convinced herself she was guilty of nothing then and she still believes it now. And there are just enough people who have cried “she was young” or “she didn’t understand” or “she was in denial” to make her comfortable with that belief.
I’m not one of them.
Amy Grossberg, I have walked in your shoes, so you can’t fool me. I know what you are. And you disgust me!