Man Who Hid Convicted Child-Killer Diane Downs After Escape From Prison Speaks Out

The man who hid child murderer Diane Downs after she escaped from prison in 1987 now regrets the choice he made back then, according to a new report.

Wayne Seifer told ABC’s “20/20” that he was addicted to drugs when Downs showed up at his place.

In 1984, Downs was sentenced to “prison for life plus 50 years for shooting her three children and killing one” in 1983, reported ABC News. Then, on July 11, 1987, Downs escaped the Oregon Women’s Correctional Center by hopping the fence while guards weren’t looking.

A fellow inmate had given Downs her husband’s address, and Downs made her way there.

Seifer said at the time he was living with two friends he referred to as Jim and Bob. “We were kind of just living on the edge at the time,” Seifer said. He added that he had a heroin addiction at the time.

On the day Downs showed up, Seifer was hungover and one of his friends came to his room to tell him someone was downstairs looking for him.

“So I walk downstairs, still a little bit bleary-eyed, and she said, ‘Could I stay?’ And I said ‘Why not?’ and I went back upstairs to sleep,” he said.

“I was a nervous wreck, you know,” he said. “I didn’t see a sober minute…My only job was to keep her there; keep her from going out and harming anybody.”

“I should’ve turned her in, but I didn’t,” he added.

Eventually police tracked down Downs because of a piece of paper she left in her cell.

The detective who found the key piece of evidence, Loren “Larry” Glover found a blank piece of stationary in Downs’ cardboard box. However, he noticed when he looked at it a certain way, there were indentations on the paper. The indentations were remnants of a map and the address of Seifer’s home.

Seifer said when the police stormed his home, Downs “was going to grab a BB gun and just go suicide by cop, but I said, ‘Don’t do that,’ and she put the BB gun down, and she went without a fight. Turned her hands over and put her hands behind [her] back.”

He said he did know that his actions would land him in trouble with the authorities.

“When it came my time to burn, I was just going to tell the truth and get it over with,” he said.

Seifer said he’s been asked “a million times” why he didn’t turn Downs in, and he said he still doesn’t have a reason, other than his drug addiction at the time. He pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution for harboring Downs. He was sentenced to five years probation and six months in a restitution center in Salem, reported ABC News.

The Crime

On May 19, 1983, at around 10 p.m., Downs pulled over to the side of a country road near Springfield, Oregon, and shot her three small children multiple times at close range. She then shot herself in the forearm, and drove to the hospital. There, she claimed a “bushy-haired stranger” had tried to take her car and shot at them.

However, police and doctors found Down’s story suspicious and her reactions to her children’s conditions were inappropriate and odd.

Hospital staff determined that 7-year-old Cheryl was already dead, while Christie, 8, and Danny, 3, were barely alive.

Christie’s blood pressure was so low that she suffered a stroke and Danny was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. However, both children managed to survive.

Dr. Steven Wilhite, who treated the children, said when he went to update Downs on her daughter Christie’s condition, he was surprised by her reaction.

“Not one tear. You know, she just asked, ‘How is she doing?’ Not one emotional reaction,” he told ABC News.

“She says things to me like, ‘Boy, this has really spoiled my vacation,’ and she also says, ‘That really ruined my new car. I got blood all over the back of it,’…I knew within 30 minutes of talking with that woman that she was guilty.”

However, Wilhite said the most shocking part was when Downs said she knew Christie was “brain dead” and told him, “I want you to pull the plug.”

“In other words, let her die,” he said. “And I said to her, ‘We don’t know that. She’s doing well. And I’m not going to pull the plug’…I was very stern with her.”

He said he also noticed that when Downs went to visit Christie in the recovery room, her stats spiked.

“When she [Downs] showed up, her [Christie’s] pulse rate went up high and you could see terror on her face,” Wilhite said. “She was afraid of her mother.”

Christie eventually recovered and was able to take the stand. When the prosecutor Fred Hugi asked Christie if she remembered who shot her, Christie Downs responded with, “My mom.”

In June 1984, Downs was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years. Downs, who continues to proclaim her innocence, is up for parole in 2020.