The early years
Aileen Carol Wuornos was born in Rochester, Michigan to Diane Kathleen Wuornos and Leo Arthur Pittman. Her maternal grandparents were of Finnish descent. Pittman, whom she never knew, was a child molester who served time in Kansas and Michigan mental hospitals. He died by hanging, presumably self-inflicted while in prison at Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas on January 30, 1969. Wuornos' mother Diane was 15 years old when she married Pittman on June 3, 1954. Two children were produced during their marriage; Keith was born in 1955 and Aileen in 1956. Less than two years into their marriage and just a few months before Aileen was born, Diane divorced Pittman. Diane abandoned the two children in 1960. She left them in the care of their maternal grandparents, "Lauri" Jacob Wuornos and Aileen "Britta" Moilanen. Lauri and Britta legally adopted the two children and brought them into their Troy, Michigan home. Wuornos said that her grandfather physically and sexually abused her as a child and her grandmother was an abusive alcoholic. In the book Lethal Intent, Sue Russell wrote that Wuornos was whipped with a belt by her grandfather. At the age of 12 Aileen and her brother Keith discovered that Lauri and Britta were really their grandparents, not their biological parents. Aileen claimed to have had sex with multiple partners, including her own brother, at a young age. She became pregnant at the age of 14. Upon giving birth to her child at a Detroit maternity home on March 23, 1971 she was banished from her family home and disowned by the community. The child was put up for adoption soon after. Wuornos was forced to take shelter in an abandoned car in the woods before being sent to a home for unwed mothers. Britta Wuornos died in July 1971 (officially of liver failure, although Aileen's mother Diane later accused Lauri of killing her). After their grandmother's death, Wuornos and her brother became wards of the court. She began to work as a prostitute while still in school. She began using the alias Sandra Kretsch in May 1974. She was jailed in Jefferson County, Colorado for drunk driving, disorderly conduct, and firing a .22-caliber pistol from a moving vehicle. An additional charge of failing to appear in court was also filed when she left town before her trial. In 1976, Wuornos hitchhiked to Florida, where she met 76-year-old yacht club president Lewis Gratz Fell. They married that same year, and the news of their nuptials was printed in the local newspaper's society pages. However, Wuornos continually involved herself in confrontations at their local bar and was eventually sent to jail for assault. She also hit Fell with his own cane, leading him to get a restraining order against her. She returned to Michigan. She was arrested in Antrim County and charged with assault and disturbing the peace on July 13, 1976 following an incident in which she threw a cue ball at a bartender's head. She was also served outstanding warrants for driving without a license and drinking in a motor vehicle. She was fined $105. On July 17, her brother Keith died of throat cancer and Wuornos acquired $10,000 from his life insurance. Wuornos and Fell also divorced on July 21, having been married only six weeks. Wuornos then paid the $105 fine which had been levied on August 4, and within two months squandered the remaining money on luxuries including a new car, which she later wrecked.  The middle years
On May 20, 1981 Wuornos was arrested in Edgewater, Florida for armed robbery. She was consequently sentenced to prison on May 4, 1982 and released on June 30, 1983. On May 1, 1984 she was sentenced for attempting to pass forged checks at a bank in Key West. On November 30, 1985 she was named as a suspect in the theft of a pistol and ammunition in Pasco County. By this time Wuornos was "borrowing" the alias Lori Christine Grody from her aunt/stepsister (her grandparents' daughter) in Michigan. In December 1985, the...
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