Sydney Black: Victim of Maternal Filicide

Police say Ivory Black-Clark poisoned her 6-year old daughter, Sydney Black, with medications before she slit her own wrists and hanged herself with a hair-dryer cord from a ceiling fan.

Capt. Charlie Thomas with the Bristol Tennessee Police could not say what medications were with mixed with fruit juice and given to the girl, but he said empty prescription pill bottles were inside the residence.

Click here for full report.

Maternal filicide is not uncommon in the United States. According to the American Anthropological Association, more than 200 women kill their children in the United States each year.

And while I understand mothers who commit these crimes are typically mad as f’ing hatters, how they can direct this madness toward their own offspring and, in some cases, consider it altruistic – I will simply never understand.


33 thoughts on “Sydney Black: Victim of Maternal Filicide

  1. Deborah, where did you find that number? Even including cases of infanticide, that is incredibly high.

  2. Angelia, when Amanda graduated college, she went to work at Woodridge but had to leave because she just couldn’t stand the heartbreak. Most of her young patients fortunately had failed at suicide attempts. She told me then that people attempt suicide when they feel they are in such a mess that there is no way out.

    Extrapolating on that premise, i would imagine some of these women who kill their children feel there is no one on the earth who would take care of them if the mother were dead. Having had the wonderful of life of love and support i have experienced, i cannot imagine such a thing, and that must be one of the worst feelings in the world.

    In our family, everyone loves the little ones and wants to care for them. But i hear young women who are my daughters’ and your peers saying their family is of no help to them. Maybe that is what happened here.

    • No matter if you think someone won’t be there to take care of your child after your death doesn’t mean you should take there life !!!Because when you say thats ok that means if someone found out they had an illness it was ok to take there child away and take all of there oppertunities away!I see that that is cruel and self centered and if you think suicdle then the chid shouldnt be with you in the first place !Ivory was a horrible mother out for money from men !many people could witness to this !!there were planty of people who would have took care of sydney!i knew one of her step fathers and many other people realted to the child her father loved her so much and still and always will!!!!!!!

      • TO ALICIA!

  3. On some “cognitive, rational, thinking-person” level, I understand how these women are mentally ill and often believe they are saving their child or maybe think that by dying with the child they preserve the bond. As a thinking person, I realize this.

    As a mother, the level of madness you must reach in order to kill your own child – one you have nurtured for six years and whom has developed her own personality and awareness of the world, it is unfathomable to me.

    Then, I shift back to the thinking-person again and wonder how we, as a whole society, have become so self-absorbed we’ve lost our sense of community and as a result fail to provide the support network these women and children need.

  4. I know. With our blessings, yours and mine with our families, we cannot even imagine feeling there was nowhere to turn.

    I wish we had known her and could have helped.

  5. I personally knew this family. My son was a class mate of Sydney and played together often. The level of mental illness here was unbelievable. There is so much more to this story.
    Not only do I mourn the loss of a lovely little girl but I mourn for my sons loss of a friend. The hardest thing I have ever done was to tell my son his friend had passed away in a horrible accident. Keeping it from his was impossible. Television, Radio, and Talk at school made it necessary, unfortunately. Knowing the entire time that the truth was so much worse then anything even I wanted to accept or know.
    How can a mother do this to her child. How can she possible think taking her childs life would be better then her to live and grow into a wonderful adult. Ivory was mentally ill – pure and simple- and this precious young girl was the victum of her mothers severe mental illness. No one will know the pain that Sydneys family will endure. No one knows but those in this area how confusing and painful this is to the community. This is something you see on TV, you arent supposed to acutally know people like this in person. No one should ever have to endure this- no child, family or friend. Mental Illness attacked this family – and the sad thing is none of us noticed it at first. No one ever thought it would ever take this turn. How can you fathom it- the thought of a mother taking her childs life. I knew this family and I cant bear to think it- what makes life so bad that you think taking your daughters life is your best choice. But as I have learned of Ivorys illness, poor Sydney must have had a strange life, possibly a sad and painful one. Taking Sydneys life along with her own was her last act of selfishness, her last attempt for attention. In their deaths Ivory finally got the attention she wanted . I am extremely mad and hurt. This has crumbled our community and our young children. Made us think, made us cry, and made us all hug and kiss our own children a little bit more this week.
    I just wish someone had noticed Ivorys mental illness BEFORE it was too late. Sydney would still be with us if that had been possible.
    My prayers are with Sydneys father and family. Unfortunely I am having a hard time forgiving Ivory- mental illness or not. God will decide her fate and will forgive her sins, and I hope in time he gives me strength to forgive her as well. But for now I remain angry- and mourn my my sons friend.

  6. I am sorry for your son’s loss. This tragedy would be a very difficult thing to explain to any child, particularly when we do not fully understand it ourselves.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Sydney’s family, friends and community as you grieve the loss of one so young and full of promise.

  7. I was Sydney’s Aunt. I would love to be able to talk to the mother of Sydney’s friend at Holsten View. Please tell me how I can contact you. There are so many questions that I have and it would be so nice to talk to someone about Sydney’s short time in school.

  8. I feel for both families, while I know it is hard to imagine that anyone could forgive Ivory or think anything other than she took her child’s life, you are correct that Ivory was mentally ill, I knew Ivory and meet Sydney a few times, she was a lovely little girl and I know many everyone will mourn her, I am sure she is in a better place and I pray for her family and friends. I would like to say however, that Ivory was not a horrible monster. She was a kind, loving, and compassionate person. I know that may be difficult to believe but it is true. Ivory had many, many, struggles in her life and as a result she suffered terribly with mental illness. I do not believe for one second that her last act was one of malice but was in her warped mind an act of compassion, as sick as that sounds to those of us that are “normal” I firmly believe it to be true. I implore everyone to pray for not only Sydney but for Ivory as well and for all of the people that this tragedy has effected. They will both be missed and again I am not trying to take away from the horrible act that Ivory committed, I just know that she was very sick and would never in her “right” mind have done something so cruel and heartbreaking. Her short life was troubled and it sickens me that she was never able to recieve the help she so obviously needed so that both she and Sydney would be here today, I have prayed over and over and find that I burst out into tears several times a day and pray that God will help me to make sense of this tragedy and I pray that he will guide me to help others that are suffering so. May God bless each and everyone of you…….

  9. Tj – It takes a lot of audacity to post a comment like you did after Sydney’s life was taken. There is absolutely no excuse for the horrible act that Ivory committed and I can assure you that I will not be praying for her. Mentally ill or not, Ivory knew that there were many family members that would have taken Sydney into their home in a heartbeat if she wanted to end her own miserable life. This was a selfish and senseless crime that she committed and as a result the lives of many people will never be the same again. Instead of making excuses for Ivory you should be mourning the fact that a precious little girl never got the chance to grow up.

    • Hello, Missy. You will probly never read this but I’m sure you know me. I am Ivory’s other daughter, Lia Patterson. I was her oldest, and I will defend my mother. My mother had a mental illness called Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Ignorant red neck folk like you do not and can not comprehend some things on a scientific level. No, lets just leave it to ‘God’ eh? Heres the lay down. Munchausen By Proxy is a mental illness that creates a split personality within the being. What they do they litteraly can not be held acountable for. I loved my mother and I still do. Even after what she did to me, I know very well from what she suffered, and when it didn’t have the grip on her she was the most loving mother that I could have ever hoped for. She was the ‘cool’ mom every child wishes they have or is thankful they have. She loved myself and Sydney very very much. How dare you try to call her a monster.

  10. Missy ,
    I am Tammy. I had the honor of being Sydney’s babysitter since Nov of last year
    I loved her and my family and I miss her terribly. I also have a niece whom loved playing with Syd and I brought them together as often as possible.I would love to talk to you about Sydney. You may reach me at

  11. I am sorry it sounded as if I were defending Ivory’s actions. You are very right in that she should have reached out and let Sydney go with her family and should never have done such a horrendous thing, I absolutely did not mean to offend you as I know you are suffering in wake of this tragedy, as far as praying I pray very hard for Sydney and what a tragic loss it is to the world, she was a very beautiful child and it is tragic that she will never be allowed to grow into the wonderful woman she would have become, again I am truly sorry for your loss and I pray for you and your family, I know first hand how special the bond is between an uncle/aunt and their nephew/niece, I am sure you feel as I do that you could not have loved Sydney more if you had given birth to her, that is how I feel about my nephew, Sydney was his age now when I first met her. Can not even imagine the pain you must be feeling and I am genuinely sorry if it sounded as if I was defending Ivory, I am at a loss for words, Ivory was special to me and it seems unfathomable that someone I knew and loved could do something so horrible and you are right it was a selfish and senseless crime, and I have to believe that her mind was so far gone with mental illness to have done such a thing, that is the only way I cannot be consumed with rage for the atrocity that was committed against your niece and your family and to all of those that will never get to see that beautiful little girl again, again my sympathies go out to you and your family, and I am praying with every fiber of my being that the Lord will help ease your suffering, may God bless you…….

  12. My Friends, risking getting into a theological debate, let this old granny tell you there is no use praying for the dead. They are gone on to other places now.

    We can pray for families currently in this same kind of distress, and we can pray for ourselves, that we will be alert and sensitive to the needs around us. Most likely people were aware of this situation and for one reason or another didn’t intervene. I think that usually is for fear of being wrong, or for fear of “butting in.”

    Twice in my life i have made reports of children in distress—one in AR that i knew was being beaten, and one here at home. It was a little child being pummeled in a car right on Main Street in front of Rod Armstrong’s. However, in our stressed out society i have questioned and then failed to report situations which probably needed intervention.

    Truly, all parents need prayer. Parenting isn’t for sissies.

  13. Tj- I appreciate your apology. Emotions are running high right now and I cannot nor will not forgive Ivory. You are probably one of the MANY victims that Ivory lured in and made feel sorry for her. Trust me – she was not the nice person that you remember her as. Sydney was my family’s life and now we are struggling to find our purpose. We will however continue to live for each other as that is what life is all about – Family, friends and love. Ivory never could see that.

  14. I truly appreciate your acceptance of my apology, I never intended to cause anyone any more stress at this horrible time, Sydeny was such a beautiful little girl and my heart goes out to you and your family. You are with out a doubt correct that life is about family, friends, and love……..

  15. I know this is very late. I just found out. I am heartbroken that this has happened. I knew the family, not for a long time, but everyone was very nice to me. I remember Sydney’s long curly hair and how beautiful she was. I know her family is hurting and will for a long time. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and Tim.

  16. My name is Tara and I was Ivory’s sister. Her name was Crystal. She legally changed it after she had been diagnosed with munchausen syndrome and had her first child removed from her custody. Crystal and I share a father. Unfortunately Crystal spent most of her time with the other side of her family. As for Auntie Tammy and the rest of that half of the family- I hope that you can live with your choice to not bury Crystal. I too was very angry when I found out (via the news)what happened. Her father (which was her closest living relative) was left completely out of the information and the choice to send her body to the body farm. Crystal has been mentally unstable for a very long time. She kept most of us in the dark about where she was living. She moved a lot. She changed her name. She was married so many times! Her older sister Sabrina knew where she was but, no one ever thought she would go this far. Syd should have never been with her. Crystal and I were not very close the last few years. I had a hard time dealing with her mental illness. I saw her shortly before this. We talked briefly but, she seemed to be in a hurry. I wish that things could be different. I hope that my dad and I can obtain the ashes from the body farm to give Crystal a proper burial. It’s time for some closure-not hate.

  17. Hi Tara – I am Syndey’s Aunt (Tim Black’s Sister). While I was very angry with Crystal (Ivory) in the beginning, I can assure you that I do not think that she is responsible for this tragedy now. I will do everything that I can to help you in providing a proper burial for Crystal (Ivory) as she certainly deserves one. Please send me an e-mail

  18. There have been many comments and concerns expressed on behalf of this little girl and her mother, but I have not heard any comments by anyone who may have had a differing opinion. I, for one, do not believe that this was a suicide. I am also interested in knowing who authorized Ivory’s body to be sent to science. Did she have this in her will or on her driver’s license? Did her husband, Mr. Clark, make this decision?

    For those of us who are related to either Sydney or Ivory, we should stay connected and focus on addressing some of these unclarified issues.

    I can assure everyone that my family truly loved Sydney beyond imagination, and the holiday season is taking quite a toll on them. Sydney had a play room at her grandma and grandpa’s home where she loved to play music. Her grandpa was teaching her to play guitar and her dad was teaching her to play drums. She loved music so much that I truly believe she was going to be a musician! Last time I got to spend time with Sydney, we were at her great grandmother’s house and she and I went out to pick some blackberries and mulberries. Sydney liked the mullberries the most and ate quite a few of them! She was precious and there are so many special memories. My family was unable to gather for Thanksgiving and they are not having Christmas this year because they are unable to celebrate this close to little Sydney’s death.

    My thoughts are with the family and friends of Ivory as well.
    I know it will be tough for them to get through the holidays due to their loss. The right thing to do is to forgive and not point blame. None of us understood well enough what we really needed to know, and there is still much to be learned.

  19. Aunt Rena, I had the pleasure of meeting with Aunt Missy not long ago and I too feel that there are many unanswered questions, I loved Ivory dearly and do not believe in my heart that she was capable of such an act, I will do WHATEVER I can to help out with this and if it’s the last thing I do I will see that her memory is not tarnished by those that did not know her………….my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family…………

  20. Oh my…………I did not expect to find these writing’s about Crystal and Sydney but I am glad I have found this. For those of you who may want to know… Sydney has a half-sister. Crystal was married for the first time to my brother-in-law, James Patterson (Jimmy). I never got to know Crystal but I heard of plenty of bad things about her,etc…. how crazy she was and that she had multiple personalities, etc, etc. The reason I am doing some searching is because tonight I was told Sydney’s half sister (Lia) had found Crystal on a web-site and it had upset her. I do not know what site, etc. All of this is horrible, horrible for Crystal and Sydney both! I did not even know Crystal but I heard no one in her immediate family had talked to her in a couple or few weeks before her death. That is so sad to me. I have one sister I call or she calls me almost daily! If family and friends knew of Crystal’s illness, shame on you if you did not encourage Crystal to get help or if you did not call to see how she was, etc.

    It is very late and I must get to bed. I will try to contact some of you maybe or check this site very soon.

  21. I just want to say one more thing, it is awful that even now in 2008/2009 people still call people crazy that are mentally ill!………… ignore it and walk a way because that is easier……….

  22. Alicia,
    I am Sydney’s Aunt. My brother (Sydney’s father) and I had the opportunity to meet James and Lia at Sydney’s funeral. We had talked on the phone several times prior to this. James is a wonderful person and his support during this tragedy meant the world to me and my family. Please know that we made every effort to contact Ivory and there is way more to this story than I care to share on a public website. My family is absolutely torn apart and I can assure you that we did not ignore the situation. Please feel free to contact me –

  23. Hi! Auntie Missy,

    First I want to say I am very sorry that I implied anyone had ignored Ivory’s condition. I had so many thoughts going on in my mind the other night after I stumbled onto this site. I feel very sad that this happened and I was venting my anger toward people who don’t understand mental illness and the only things I have heard about Crystal (Ivory) came from her first husband’s side of the family…….like you I don’t want to discuss certain things on this public website. I read where Tara said Ivory had been diagnosed with munchausen syndrome and I have not heard of any of this from Jimmy’s side of the family. There is way more we all don’t know from several sides of each family. I hope time will ease your pain and I wish I could comfort you and your family in some way. We all have tragedy’s in life that turn our whole world upside down so remember you are not alone. If I can do anything for your family or you…… just to talk sometime or have someone listen can be a great help. I might send you an email soon. Alicia

  24. I knew Ivory. She was a bright woman who had experienced many hurts in her short life, and was working on her master’s degree in Counseling, to help other women not suffer the terrible experiences she went through personally. She wanted to support women going through abusive and domestic violence in relationships. She reached out to me, said she was working to rebuild her life, start over again with fresh positive-minded people who were looking forward to a bright future and who were solid in their faith. She even invited me to attend her church. What happened to Ivory to cause those events must have been unbelievably painful and to us, unfathomable. In retrospect I wish I would have extended a loving hand in friendship and professional support. But, on the surface, she was attractively kept, spoke of her life and daughter with love and sparkle in her eyes, and truly seemed ready to help those in need. The news of this tragedy shook our Counseling program to the core. We were a small class, and all had been in classes and worked with Ivory. It has taken me two years to process what has happened, and feel ready to express my loss. As is so often reported “she seemed like a very nice girl.” She was well spoken, lovely, excelled in class, and most importantly possessed the drive to extend her personal experiences to help others not suffer the same.
    Ivory, I don’t know what roads lead you to the final path, and I am truly sorry from the depths of my heart that I, and others in our program weren’t able to provide you with that sound, safe, loving atmosphere you so longer for. I hope that you and your daughter are in a peaceful place now, and free from the crushing pain you must have been in. You deserved better from all of us, sought out people to start healthy friendship and support networks with; and we let you down. If somehow you’re able to receive this message, please know your friendship touched my life. Through this sad happening, I will be more vigilant with my own clients- asking better questions about suicidal ideation, and following up to be sure that they receive the support and help they’re needing. From your passing, you’ve taught the counselors from our program to be aware that sometimes unexpected tragedies occur. I’m certain though, that the most difficult part of this is the empty holes you’ve left in our hearts. Please be at peace, and may you find your daughter in heaven as you repent and open you heart to the love and guidance of the lord


    Munchausen By Proxy

    Munchausen By Proxy is a very real mental illness that most of the ignorant masses of the world fail to accept or understand. It figures that most of you hicks in TN would be the ones who can ‘voice their opinions’ about this topic apon a website. Why yes, I am being rude.

    When You finaly achieve the IQ higher than a seven year old, Please, Feel free to reply to me.

    The illness is caused by the same thign that causes ADD,ADHD, and Autism. A deformity within the brain that occures while you are still unborn. It is not a physical is mental, but the affects it has on the physical world is very real. It creatues a split personality (As An Example – In every case it happens differently – ) that can become very profound in ones life. The split personality can even become the permanent domnant one within another’s life. – THERE IS NO REAL HELP FOR IT. –

    Unless you can open up someones brain and fix the part of it that is broken there is nothing you can flipp’n do. Its the sad part of reality that seems to happen out of the blue, but there is nothing we can really do. Yes, My mother took her own life and life of my beloved sister, but unlike all of you I can understand why it happened. I forgive my mother for all that she is done and I pray for the both of them. Shame on all you fat, gum rotting, IQ less than a tree stump, living in trail park trash thinking they know everything there is to know and that there was something that could have been done. My mother is no monster. The monster is the person wanting to point the finger without knowing the real facts. My mother was a kind loving person, who was just unlucky enough to have been born with such a mental defect. She did not make the choice to live that way…and she regreted it every day. Once she realised what she had done my sister she took her own life in atonement. She gave up her own life to repay for the one she took. Better than cowards like you, Eh? 500$ says any of you given the same situation would chicken out and run. MY MOTHER PAYED THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR HER ACTIONS.

    Don’t like what I speak? Want to tell me off? 334-549-6868. I dare you.

    • Hi Lia,
      You have every right to be angry with me and I certianly do not blame you. Please know that I am very sorry for posting what I did on this blog site however I was very angry and hurt when everything happened. Grief can cause people to say and do things that they do not mean. I hope you will continue to read everything on this site and you will realize that I certainly changed my mind about what happened with Ivory and Sydney. I have spent the past two years of my life trying to prove that this case was not handled correctly. You may not know it, but I went and picked up personal belongings for Ivory and Sydney from two different people. I have saved many things for you that somewhere down the road I will make sure you have. You are right – your mother was a beautfiul person and you should continue to cherish all of the special memories. Your sister was also a very special little girl. She was my first and only niece and we shared many special times together which I will forever hold close to my heart. Losing her has changed my life in ways that cannot be put into words. Please know that if there was something that I could do to change everything that happened I would, but at this point I have exhausted all efforts. Maybe one day you will forgive me – until then please know that you are in my thoughts. Please feel free to contact me if you wish –

  26. Alicia. I’m not that dumb. And infact what I do with my life is honestly my own choice, but unlike most people I don’t throw myself out into the world with no real understanding of the dangers that come along with it. Just because you saw it on TV doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. And infact, did you also notice how theres NOTHING but death,violence, and news about war on TV? It creates the facade that that is all the world is about. Wrong. It’s just what people ‘want’ to see on TV. It is what the majority of the population is interested in. Infact, this forum is a news report about my mother and my sister. My person life has no purpose being here. So please, if you have something like that to tell me. Email me. I don’t check this site but maybe once a year.

    P.S. For all the fags who keep trying to use ‘Your mother would want this’ and ‘Your mother would be ~ blah blah blah~. Unless you can talk with the dead, which i’m pretty sure you can’t, don’t act like you would know what they would think or say. All your doing is trying pitifuly to get my attention and hurt me at the same time. Faggots who resort to that have nothing better to say, and surely can not think of a smart comeback/comment that would work better. Burn.

  27. Hello, My name is Kyle, and I am Lia’s boyfriend. She recently came to stay with me(as you all saw from “Alicia”s post farther up. I am by no means any sort of Sex Traffic-er, and I’m hoping all of you can understand that now that she has been up here for several months and subsequently returned to Alabama for the time being. We are still together and our relationship is stronger now then it has ever been. Lia’s mother, Ivory, was a very wonderful person, though I never had the privilege and Honor of meeting the woman face to face I have heard numerous stories of her, From several members of Lia’s Family. I am not here to hurl insults or accusations at anyone, but I am here of my own will, and accord, Lia does not know I am posting this. I have heard all of the stories, both opinionated from James, and Lia, and Unbiased opinions, I have read the articles and I do live in Tennessee, where this happened. Munchhausen by proxy is a mental disease and as such persons affected by this or any other mental diseases cannot be held responsible in contempt under the court of law or legal systems of any country or sate currently established. I urge everyone here with hateful or hurt hearts to do research on not only Munchhausen by proxy, but on Mental illnesses in a general. My brother, Scott Bishop had mental retardation, Now, I know that it is nothing at all like Munchhausen By Proxy, however it is also developed before the embryo is formed into a viable fetus and delivered into this world, It is also developed by the same deficiency that develops ADD, ADHD, Autism, and Yes, Munchhausen By Proxy. People affected by mental illnesses do not see this world as most ‘normal’ people do. things that make since to us, make none to them a large amount of the time. Things that make perfect since to them can be complex and confusing for us also. I urge everyone here to do some real, in depth research of the mental illness, and illnesses that exist before attempting to point fingers and blame anyone here. Yes Sydney was a victim of a terrible thing, but it was hardly a ‘crime’. she was a victim of something that is incurable. instead of focusing on the fact that Sydney didn’t get to grow up into the wonderful woman she would have been, focus instead on the time she spent in this world, Loved by her wonderful mother and very well taken care of, Just as Lia was when in possession of her mother. I will be civil and polite here, and I do ask for anyone who may feel the want or need to, to call me. My cell phone number is 865-776-4364 and you can contact me Via World of Warcraft should anyone have an account, The characters I frequent are “Kiru” and “Horùs”. You may also contact me through Youtube at “theREALWrop” and Xbox live, Via Gamertag “Reaver Senth” You may also text my phone at any time, or call. I am willing to hear opinions but I will not stand for someone slandering the woman. Anyone wishing to be informed of mental illnesses or willing to have a civil conversation is welcome to call, or message me one of the ways above.

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