Melissa Drexler is known as the 18-year-old New Jersey student who gave birth in a bathroom stall at her 1997 prom, and left her dead newborn in the trash, after suffocating it. Now, REELZ is looking back at the horrific incident, and the dark secrets that led to the teen’s deadly actions.
“No one likes feeling shamed, and we will do, as humans, almost anything to avoid being shamed,” says Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Neil Kaye, in a teaser for REELZ’s new docuseries, Murder Made Me Famous: Prom Mom.
“These girls have gotten a message — generally from their parents, sometimes from their society, their community at large — that being pregnant and having a baby out of wedlock is just not acceptable. And to avoid the shame, to avoid that feeling, they then invoke the denial defense mechanism to try to keep things okay,” he continues.
“Some of them may cognitively know that they’re pregnant but again, they will take steps to ignore that or deny that because they just can’t cope with it. They don’t get any prenatal care, they don’t go to the doctors, they find ways to not show that they’re pregnant.”
After giving birth to and killing her child, Melissa Drexler returned to the dance as if nothing had happened.
“We don’t really know exactly what Melissa told her parents, but we do know that she did not tell them that she was pregnant,” says Medical Journalist, Sara Ivey, in the clip.
Murder Made Me Famous: Prom Mom airs Saturday, May 12 at 8:00 ET/ PT on REELZ.