An unexpected suspect...
It All Began With a Not-So Accidental House Fire...
It was a house fire that police and emergency services were responding to on May 11th, 2011, in rural Redwater, Texas, but the police quickly realized that something was just not right when the arrived at the scene.
The bodies of 34-year-old Amanda Doss, and her two children; 11-year-old Guinevere Doss and 8-year-old Texas Johnson, were pulled from the burning home on that day. Incredibly, the parents of Amanda Doss arrived at the scene before emergency services, responding to a phone call from their granddaughter Guinevere screaming for help, and were able to pull the body of Guinevere out of the house, sustaining burn injuries of their own that had to be treated at the hospital. Unfortunately, she was already dead by that time. They they watched as the house burned to the ground, knowing their daughter and grandson were still inside. Although the victims were so badly burnt that their injuries were not immediately evident, gut instinct told the responding officers that these deaths were not a result of an accidental house fire. Once they started investigating the scene, what they found only furthered their suspicions.
After autopsies were performed on the bodies, their suspicions were confirmed; all three had died from violent injuries inflicted prior to the fire. All three of the victims had been stabbed to death before the house was set ablaze. The fire, which was now determined to have been arson, was only set in an attempt to mislead police, and cover up evidence. Detectives realized that there was a seriously brutal murderer on the loose, and unfortunately, they had no real suspects. After months of investigation, and over $145,000 in reward money offered, they were still no closer to solving this tragic and heinous crime. It was a tip that was called in to police that would lead them to the killer.
Even after the smoldering remains of the house were confirmed as arson, and the community realized that this was no tragic accident, but a cold-blooded a brutal multiple-murder, no one seemed to have any idea who could have committed such a horrid crime, or why anyone would have wanted to murder Amanda, Guinevere, and Texas. No one would ever have suspected who the culprit was; a 16-year-old girl. Almost as shocking as the identity of the killer was the identity of the person who turned her in; Rachel Pittman was turned in to police by her own mother.
What Happened & Why?
After 16-year-old Pittman was arrested, and the immediate shock wore off, the question on everyone's mind was simple, and just one word: why?
Unfortunately, at this point, the public does not have an answer. Due to the circumstances of the case, a judge has placed a gag order, so not much information has been officially released to the public. The only facts we do know: Rachel Pittman knew the victims, although no motive has been has been disclosed to the public due to the gag order. The Dodds have publicly elaborated on that to say that Rachel was a family friend, who worked for Amanda and babysat the children. Pittman lived just a few miles away from the Doss home.
In August, over three months after the crime, Rachel confessed to her mother. Her mother, who was obviously very upset, then called police and recounted her daughter's confession. Rachel then went willingly with the police to the station, where she again confessed, telling them details about the murders that had not been made public. They said evidence found at the scene backed up her confession; including cartridge casings, a pocket knife, hair and blood samples. She was then arrested, and charged with capital murder.
The fact that there is a gag order does not stop conjecture and rumours from spreading. A potentially important, and case changing rumour; although Rachel has been the only person arrested and charged in this case, many people believe did not act alone. People find it hard to believe that this was solely the act of a 16-year-old girl; they believe someone else had to be involved. The disbelief isn't just expressed by people who knew Rachel; even friends and neighbours of the victims have questioned if Rachel could possibly have acted alone.
Amongst the rumours, there are stories of a mystery woman who pressured her into it, and/or threatened Rachel's family to force her co-operation. There are stories of a failed polygraph by someone else who was interrogated by police. There are stories that the prosecutor and police are aware that other people were involved, but are ignoring that fact in order to "wrap up" the case.
Police, on the other hand, have stated that the evidence indicates otherwise; Rachel Pittman, they say, acted alone when she brutally murdered Amanda Doss and her children. A detective on the case has stated that they do not expect to make any more arrests. It doesn't appear that Rachel herself has accused anyone else of being involved, or indicated to police that she was in any way coerced to kill the Doss family. Unless another arrest is made, or until the facts come out in trial, rumours will continue to hover over this case.
The Trial, Sentencing & Verdict
While initially arrested as a juvenile, which meant that her name was not released to the public, prosecutors successfully petitioned the court, and Rachel Nicole Pittman was officially charged as an adult, and indicted with three counts of capital murder on February 9th, 2012.
Rachel, now 17 years old, was arraigned in court on February 17th, 2012, where she pleaded not guilty to three counts of capital murder in the deaths of Rachel Doss, and her children, Guinevere and Texas. Though she is being tried as an adult, she will still be subject to special sentencing as a juvenile. While an adult can face the death penalty in Texas, Pittman will not be subject to that sentencing. Instead, if convicted, she faces a sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
Pittman is next scheduled to appear in court in April of 2012 for a pretrial hearing. No official trial date has yet been set. Please check back in the future for further updates as the case progresses and the trial moves forward.
You Might Also Be Interested In...
my other articles in the "Murderous Children" series;
Fin from Barstow on April 11, 2020:
Well a terrible story and I wonder what inspired her to do what she did.
Phoebe on November 08, 2019:
Hi, Antonia. I believe you have accidentally typed something wrong. The caption under Rachels mugshot states her name is Amanda. Also below that when stating the names of the victims you say Rachel Doss.
Sorry to point this out, just trying to help :)
Also to another response you did say a tip would lead them to the killer in the 2nd paragraph last line
Teri on October 16, 2019:
I was personal friends with Amanda, Guinevere & Texas, as well as her parents and others who knew Rachel.
First; Amanda and her children were absolute saints!
When Amanda’s daughter Guinevere was 9, she decided to give all of her Birthday/Christmas gifts & money...to the orphanage children, where I was a house parent. So, once a month that year Amanda, Guinevere & Texas arrived at the orphanage, where they decorated, brought cakes, ice cream and gifts for each child having a birthday that month. It was the most gracious thing I had ever seen. Amanda and I became friends and I found her to be the kindest, most loving person I’ve ever met. She was brilliant, beautiful and truly the sweetest woman, the world lost a tremendous person when Amanda was Murdered. Her parents are the same sort, as well as Amanda’s children, who where the most admirable children on the planet. They were sweet, thoughtful, giving.... They were an amazing family.
Amanda's Parents were hideously burned and spent a great deal of time in the burn unit of Dallas. Guinevere was not dead, when they arrived and pulled her from the house, her throat had been cut, gasoline poured on her and she had been set on fire. She died in the yard in their arms. No one knows if Amanda or Texas were alive when set on fire.
I have knowledge of Rachel too. She left her mark on other kids at school as a potential killer, even before killing Amanda and her children. There were teens fearful of Rachel.
This site was well written and aside from the personal knowledge I have from Amanda’s parents, the information accurate.
Rachel is not a hero but evil. Make no mistake, the Pittman girl did what she did, of her own volition and not because anyone failed her, or because of her raising, or because of a terrible influence (I agree, there was an evil woman Rachel chose to give preeminence in her life and there is not enough bad to say about her!), but Rachel made all of the choices and committed the carefully planned actions to hideously slaughter three, beyond WONDERFUL, people, because she wanted to kill them. She was filled with rage and hatred for those who helped her time and again. Rachel hated and wanted to kill the people who were there for her, no matter what, no matter when... Rachel is a killer.
I hope that Rachel seeks Jesus Christ in truth and with faith. Only He can forgive even the most horrible deeds and give her a full life. Only Christ can remove evil from the heart of people.
Janisa from Earth on August 18, 2018:
I'm curious about what happened next, after the 2012 update. What were her motives to kill?
Same dorm on October 09, 2017:
I was in prision with her she's a stud call Alex very quite talks to the birds don't have many friends she's just different talk to her about her crime and she confesse her motive her real reason and for does that say was money no that was not the reason
Taylor on January 15, 2017:
I went to school with Rachel and knew her personally (I can prove it with my school year book). She was always a little strange, but nothing alarming. I always felt she was misunderstood and needed someone to be her friend. She had a few friends (not the best crowd), but usually was by herself. She was funny and always up for a conversation. She use to try and sell random items like cookies and sodas at lunch to me and my friends, due to the lack of money in her home I assumed (but she always said it was to buy a laptop or something). My friend sat next to her on the bus every morning. On the morning of the accident my friend told me that Rachel was quiet and "zoned-out." No one thought anything about it, we were all sad about the accident too. Months later I saw on my Facebook page that she was convicted of the murder. So many mean and hurtful things were said about her, but all I could think of was why didn't I take her to church or invite her to sit with my friends?
Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2016:
You might want to actually pay attention in the future before you attack someone's character. Like taking a moment to notice that there are no ads on my stories, before accusing me of writing simply for ad money and "mining human tragedy for profit". I also don't "crank" out my articles, I research, write, and yes, even proofread my hard work. I put time and effort into writing these articles because I find the subject matter fascinating, and I think the stories are interesting. I'm hardly sitting on my gold throne in my mansion counting stacks of money while laughing at the misfortune of others. I'm sorry that the fact that I accidentally had your friend's full name incorrect seemed to offend you so greatly that you felt the need to passive-aggressively insult me.
Cal marine on August 08, 2016:
Red water Christian. Do you truly believe killing little children is a way to rid your town of evil? God doesn't send out holy warriors to kill. Your post leads me to believe you could benefit from a round of psychiatric care.
Gaius Caligula on July 23, 2016:
I'm someone close to this case. Her name is Rachel Nicole Pittman. I don't know how many of these stories you crank out per day (or indeed why, although I suspect it's for the ad money, the same reason the cable networks have been hounding the families - in a nutshell, mining human tragedy for profit), but in any case, you really ought to proofread and edit your stories or have some else do it for you.
h on October 21, 2015:
i was locked up with this woman and she isnt a bad person.
Redwater Christian on September 08, 2015:
Rachel was defending the good people in our community from immorality and evil. The devil is in Redwater and Rachel was one of Christ's holy warriors in the fight against sin. We need more Rachels in this world, and it's unfair to call the devout mentally ill. Society is ill and Christ is the cure.
musicman77 on May 13, 2014:
Rachel is in prison with no access to the internet.. She is not a hero, but she isn't a devil either.. She was mentally ill and there were circumstances that led her down that path..
jenn on February 01, 2014:
I think anonymous is Rachel
Anonymous on October 31, 2013:
I think Rachel Pittman is a hero.
TheRainGrrl on September 20, 2013:
Thanks for compiling this interesting collection of True Crime. I've been focused on the Pittman-Doss case as of late. As there was not a trial, there is almost no helpful or telling information available. I was especially glad to find a great article this evening; one that is packed with details. This happened in my hometown & this article was originally published in our local newspaper, The Texarkana Gazette. I don't know how often you update but I wanted to share this article with you. It will be an interesting addition to what you have now & most importantly, answer a lot of questions. (I see you're from Canada; My last case study was Magnotta.)
Anonymous on August 05, 2013:
And her name is not Amanda Rachel Pittman it is Rachel Nicole Pittman. Just FYI (coming from somebody that was a close friend to her.)
Monica on January 20, 2013:
Yes... You are right! It is tragic! Horribly tragic! I have been friends with this family since Rachel was 3 years old. Her mother was a wonder mother to Rachel and taught her very well. Tragedy struck this family and split them apart. Rachel got caught up in the whirlwind and this mystery woman, Dana, took Rachel under her wicked wing. She introduced her to things she shouldn't have known about! Rachel's mother fought very hard to keep her away from Dana, who was in her 30's when Rachel met her. She was evil! Renee tried everything, but people like Rachel's own paternal grandmother was allowing Rachel to secretly meet Dana at her house. (On the same property as Rachel's family) I'm not saying the murders should be excused.. I just saying this was a young innocent child who was wickedly influenced!
I just pray for both families. They are both suffering for different reasons!
robert on June 29, 2012:
I am from the Redwater area as well and actually a lot of the rumors that are going around are true!! Rachel was manipulated and brain washed by a woman that was living with Rachel's grandmother against Rachel's family's wishes. This woman was interviewed by the police and she did fail a ploygraph test. This is a very tragic and sad situation for both families..
annerivendell from Dublin, Ireland on June 19, 2012:
An interesting article. Voted up. But just for the record: Last sentence of your third paragraph reads "It was a tip that was called in to police that would lead them to the killer". I know you also said that her mother turned her in. Sorry, I'm a stickler for accuracy. Good hub.
Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:
I just read over the article again, and absolutely nowhere did I say there was a "tip". It says that Rachel's mother turned her in, which is what was reported by various news outlets.
Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2012:
My facts were all researched from various news sources; if the details are incorrect, they were all reported incorrectly by various reputable sources.
As for the "lets not bash people until you know..."; if you are directing that comment at me, the author of the article, I have not "bashed" her. I researched and reported on the facts of a case that are all public record.
Paula on June 14, 2012:
I am from the Redwater area. A lot of these details are incorrect. She turned herself in, there was no "tip".I know Rachel and her family. She was not raised a brutal person. Yes she is a troubled girl. But lets not bash people until you know just what the hell you are talking about.. Because frankly you don't know..
Kec on May 23, 2012:
She should be killed
Coco on May 02, 2012:
For some reason, she reminds me of kristen stewart..
Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 12, 2012:
Hi cloverleaffarm, I think I can answer that actually (although in general and not specific to this case); they can't really force someone to plead guilty, even if they have confessed to the crime. Someone might plead not guilty, and then argue in court that they were coerced into a false confession. They might also claim self-defense. I don't think either of those are very likely to be the case here, but she might try going for an insanity or some sort of "diminished capacity" defense. She might also be hoping for a plea deal to be offered in the future. If there was someone else involved, she might be hoping to make deal to testify against them.
Penlady on March 11, 2012:
What a sad and disturbing case! It's ashame that our youth are so violent these days; not caring about life in the least way.
Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on March 11, 2012:
This is horrible. One question, (which I know you can't answer), why would they allow her to plead not guilty after confessing to the crime? Isn't this just a waste of tax money and time?
I know you said there were rumors of someone else in on it, but even if she didn't act alone, she confessed. Horrible, it's all just horrible.
Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 10, 2012:
Thanks! I have not seen this case shown on any news shows whatsoever, I was shocked I had not heard about it when I came across a news article on it. The only sources I could find all seemed to be local sources, and I was shocked when I searched on youtube to see if I could find a video clip from a news source to include, and found absolutely nothing.
SpanStar on March 10, 2012:
It is clear that teenagers need help with growing up. I believe they don't full understand the consequences of their actions which can effect their entire life.
If giving a child timeout as an effective means of raising children then I'm thinking those behind bars might not think so.
Suzie from Carson City on March 10, 2012:
Antonia....This frightening and sad tale has my attention. Strange that I'd heard nothing about this particular case. I don't think it's been featured on any nightly news shows, or has it? I will keep tabs on this.
Personally, I can't imagine a young girl at 16 covering for anyone else who may have been an accomplice.... Good work on this hub. Up+