Aliza May Bush was a two-year-old girl who went missing in Lansing, New York, in February 1990. Her mother, Christine Lane, claimed that she had received one of her daughter’s pink mittens in the mail, implying that she had been kidnapped. However, after 13 days of searching, Lane confessed that she had found Aliza dead in her crib and hid her body in a nearby field. The autopsy revealed that Aliza had died of blunt force trauma to the head, and Lane was charged with second-degree murder.
But Aliza’s tragic death was not the only mystery that Lane had to answer for. During the investigation, the police learned that Lane had been married to Damon Douglas, an actor who had appeared in films such as Massacre at Central High and Bad Company. Douglas had died in October 2006, at the age of 54, in Long Beach, California. His death was attributed to progressive pituitary disease, a rare condition that affects the hormone-producing gland in the brain.
However, the police suspected that there was more to Douglas’s death than a natural cause. They obtained a warrant to exhume his body and perform a new autopsy. The results were shocking: Douglas had been poisoned with arsenic, a toxic substance that can cause symptoms similar to those of pituitary disease. The police also found traces of arsenic in Lane’s hair, suggesting that she had been exposed to the poison as well.
The police concluded that Lane had killed Douglas by slowly administering arsenic to him over a period of time, and then collected his life insurance money. They also believed that Lane had killed Aliza because she was afraid that the child would reveal her secret. Lane was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for Douglas’s death, in addition to the second-degree murder charge for Aliza’s death.
Lane pleaded not guilty to both charges, and her trial began in March 2024. The prosecution presented evidence of Lane’s motive, opportunity, and means to kill Douglas and Aliza. They also showed that Lane had a history of lying and manipulating others, and that she had been involved in several other suspicious deaths in the past. The defense argued that Lane was innocent, and that the evidence against her was circumstantial and unreliable. They also claimed that Lane had been suffering from mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that she had been coerced into confessing by the police.
The jury deliberated for four days, and returned with a verdict: guilty on both counts of murder. Lane was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She is currently serving her sentence at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in New York.
The case of Aliza Bush and Damon Douglas is one of the most shocking and disturbing stories of crime and deception in recent history. It also shows how one death can lead to the discovery of another, and how justice can be served even after many years.