On September 4, 2012, Maree Mavis Crabtree, 51, from Bribane, Australia, went on a 12-day cruise with her son Jonathan Crabtree, 26, but without their youngest daughter, Erin Crabtree, 18.
A national charity which supports families dealing with child illness had gifted the Crabtrees an all-expenses paid cruise vacation in the hope of providing some measure of happiness to Erin Crabtree, who had been suffering unspecified physical and mental issues.
When the family left on the cruise, Crabtree encouraged her other children not to say goodbye, shut the windows, doors and curtains and took the family dog, Tinkerbell, to a neighbor. Erin Crabtree, was left alone in the home located at a Plantation Crescent address in Maudsland on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Erin was disabled and required around the clock care.
Police say that her mother fed an overdose of narcotics to her daughter in food before the family left on the cruise and she wiped away her own fingerprints on the pill container, so investigators could not connect the death to her. She had a solid 12 Day Cruise alibi to explain her whereabouts during the death.
Jonathan Crabtree was allegedly murdered nearly five years later on July 18, 2017. Maree Crabtree allegedly forced oxycodone overdoses on her daughter and son, killing them in what initially appeared to be suicides.
Crabtree allegedly told people her daughter contracted autism from a vaccination. She also told people her other daughter, who is still alive, had cancer, the ABC reported.
On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Maree Mavis Crabtree was charged with two counts of financially motivated premeditated murder for the deaths of Erin and Jonathan. Crabtree is alleged to have put in fraudulent insurance claims of more than $900,000.
Police alleged witnesses described Erin as a “mute” unable to care for herself, and it would have been impossible for her to have emptied out some 30 tablets without leaving prints.
Crabtree also stands accused of successfully securing a fraudulent insurance payout of more than half a million dollars, and trying to defraud hundreds of thousands more in relation to the two deaths.
Crabtree’s Twitter profile description says, “hi, I live on the Gold Coast, I love fishing, long walks on the beach, watching TV, reading, cooking , gardening, just love SIA, Dance Moms, all movies”
Another really odd fact, Crabtree is also a long-time member of the Queensland Rodent Fanciers Society and competed regularly at rat shows. The society page states, “We are a small club based in Brisbane working on showing the world just how great rats and mice are. We are a fun, sociable group who love talking to fellow rodent owners and increasing awareness of our wonderful small pets.”
Seven months before Jonathan’s death, on December 4, 2016, apparently unaware she allegedly poisoned her daughter’s food, the Queensland Rodent Fanciers Society Facebook page gave thanks to Crabtree for food she donated at an event. “Thank you to Maree Crabtree for the big platter of goodies we shared at the end of the show.”
Video: Mother accused of ‘calculated’ murders