Now Reading: My Thoughts On Jillian McCabe & Kelli Stapleton… I Want To Feel It All!

My Thoughts On Jillian McCabe & Kelli Stapleton… I Want To Feel It All!

I posted the latest tragic autism story (Mom Accused of Throwing Autistic Son Off Oregon Bridge) on my FB page the other day and it got a ton of comments…  
Many people calling the mom a despicable
human being and wanting to hang her, some people feeling compassion for the mom
and noting how she was begging for help and had the weight of the world on her
shoulders, and others hoping that this would shine a light on mental illness
and/or the lack of services for autism families, especially as their kids get
And I read all these comments and realized that I have never
written a post with my thoughts and views on these tragedies.  I looked back in my unfinished blog posts and
saw that I started writing a blog post about this back in September 2013 when
Kelli Stapleton attempted to kill her autistic daughter Isabelle and then I picked it up
again in April of this year when Angie Robinson killed her autistic son Robert and herself , and now it’s November and it’s happened again…

So here are some of my thoughts…

I’m Allowed To Feel Compassion For The Parents, That Doesn’t Mean I
Condone Their Actions…
I think these parents who take the lives of their autistic
children are despicable human beings, and deserve to be put away for a long time…
and at the same time I feel sorry for them, and I feel compassion for them… And
I think that should be allowed.
The same way that I feel that I can hate my son’s autism and
yet still love my son, I feel that on one hand I can hate these people who kill
their children and want them to be severely punished and yet on the other hand
I’m allowed to feel sorry for them and feel compassion towards them, and wonder
how it ever got that far, and if there was anything that could have been done
to prevent these tragic acts…
In my opinion, it’s not one or the other…  
I’m not religious at all, but isn’t having
compassion & forgiveness for a sinner the hallmark of most religions?  Punish them, and yet feel compassion for
them.  Feeling compassion towards someone
who did something heinous & despicable doesn’t mean you condone their
Mental Illness is
a Serious Issue
I’ll say straight out loud… again… that I, of course, don’t
condone what this horrible mother did. 
She MURDERED her child.   It’s atrocious.

And yes, she had to be seriously mentally ill to kill her

In fact, news reports are now saying that Jillian McCabe

(from NBC News) had been “hearing voices” and was
supposed to see a doctor to adjust her medication the next day” 

Relatives say she had been suffering from mental illness for
more than two years and snapped after a series of challenges: caring for a
severely autistic, non-verbal child; her husband’s life-threatening illness;
and the death of her father. 

“We learned just yesterday that Monday morning Jillian
expressed to her counselor that she was hearing voices again,” Andrew
McCabe said. “The counselor suggested that her medication needed adjusting
and set an appointment with a doctor, for the next day.”


But her relatives say that while she was overwhelmed and stressed out by her situation, the real problems began after her husband, Matt, fell ill with a mass on his brain stem that landed him in intensive care and left him with a form of multiple sclerosis. 

The day before he was supposed to come from the hospital, McCabe’s father died — and she went into a downward spiral, the aunt said.

She snapped.

What made her snap on this one particular day? … What made her “snap rate” (I just made up that term) higher on this day?

Who knows if maybe one other positive thing had happened to her that day, none of this would’ve

Again, I don’t condone her actions, but I sympathize with
her struggles and with her mental illness.

And I believe that she should go away for a long time, and be punished for her despicable
actions…  but maybe she should serve her
punishment in a mental institution instead of a prison?

Mental illness is not some joke.

Jillian was trying to get help for her mental problems, but with the way we make fun of and gawk at mental illness in this country (see Mayor Rob Ford & actress Amanda Bynes) how many people are afraid and embarrassed to get the help they need?

Severe Autism Is A Serious Issue too…
Now everything I’m about to write is in NO WAY condoning what these moms did, but I believe what I’m about to write belongs in this blog post…

Autism parents are very often stressed out.  Having a kid with autism is really hard and can really suck sometimes.  If you’re kid is severely affected by autism your day to day stress levels will be even worse.  If your kid is self injurious or injures others your stress levels can be thru the roof.

I can’t imagine what your stress levels would be like if your teenage severely autistic kid has a history of severely injuring you (and putting you in the hospital a few times) and outweighs you by 30 pounds (like Kelli Stapleton’s & Angie Robinson’s kids did).

All this to say that autism parenting can be a very stressful business.  And because of that, the same way that the divorce rate is higher among autism parents,  I can bet that the “snap rate” is higher among autism parents than among the general public…

But very often autsim parents put on a brave face and put our best foot forward, and present the sunshine & rainbows version of themselves to the world, especially to the Facebook world.

And when they do express how hard things are they’re made to feel like they should stop complaining and when asd parents say “autism sucks” they’re made to feel like they don’t love their kids…

So they just bite their lips and keep it all in, and smile for the outside world, and no one knows the stress  (and sometimes violence) many autism parents are dealing with on a daily basis…

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that autism parents should be allowed to show the outside world how hard it all is without being made to feel like bad parents who don’t love their kids.  And the outside world needs to see that reality more often to better understand what some autism parents are dealing with.

Maybe that would lower the “snap rate” a little?

I’ve gone off on way too many tangents.  It’s time for me to bring this baby home.

My thing about all this is that I want to have my cake and eat it too…

— I want to put these moms away forever and lock away the key… and yet I want to be allowed to feel compassion for them…

— I want to say that Jillian did a horrible, disgusting, despicable thing to her beautiful son London (his pictures haunt my dreams) and deserves to be punished, and yet I hope this despicable act does shine a light on the issue of mental illness in this country…

— I want to say that what Angie did to her son Robert and what Kelli tried to do to her daughter Isabelle were cowardly & horrific acts, and that both moms should have done everything in their power to avoid getting to that place (kill themselves, drop their kids off to social services, etc) and yet I want the world to hear more about their severe autism stories, and hear about their hardships and the violence they endured.

I want to have my cake and eat it too!  I want to feel it all!  Anger & compassion…

Does that make me a monster?

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Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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61 People Replies to “My Thoughts On Jillian McCabe & Kelli Stapleton… I Want To Feel It All!”

  1. Anonymous

    Wow, almost everybody who has commented here is a Murder Apologist, and full of Autism Prejudice… "Autism $peaks" has a lot to answer for.

  2. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for posting this. When one of these tragedies occurred and I expressed my sadness over it and was emphasizing that it could likely have been prevented with more intervention, support, and assistance for parents of Autistic children, I was called a "murder apologist" by a well-known Autism advocate and blogger. I have never felt so ambushed in my life as when this person and her followers piled on me in an online forum, and then blocked me and deleted select comments of mine to take my words out of context. Why can we not feel sympathy for someone who is in such a dark place that they feel the only option left is to harm their precious child? Why can that not be a wake-up call, a motivator, a huge red flag that we need to be doing more to support families in our communities who are struggling with the weight of parenting special needs children?? Makes no sense to me, and I'm still insulted by the way I was treated for saying that I felt sympathy for the mother who killed her son and herself. I do hate what she did, of course I do, and in some ways I hate her for doing it. But, I also know that something is very wrong with our perception of the issue if someone who expresses sympathy for someone who snapped under the undeniably enormous, often insurmountable, pressures of parenting a child with Autism is said to be "condoning murder of Autistic children," and is called a "murder apologist." Just like most things in life, you just don't know what someone else is carrying around with them or going through. This blogger/Autism advocate is wealthy and has the support of her family and much of the Autism community. It is so short-sided, naive, and ignorant of her not to acknowledge that her judgment is coming from a perch of privilege that not everyone is so fortunate to have. I truly think people have lost the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others and feel true empathy. I've not reached a breaking point raising two boys with Autism, but that does not prevent me from understanding how someone without the resources that I have and without the support from my partner and family and friends and community is much more vulnerable to succumbing to mounting pressures and demands of this life. Mostly, I just think it's super unproductive to engage in rage and disgust only, and not focus on prevention when it is clear that a lack of support and resources was the biggest contributor to these tragedies.

  3. Jane

    I live in Newport and my daughter was involved in the search and some friends of ours know the family very well, that of Jillian McCabe. Here is what is not being said: she watched until she was sure he was dead before she contacted the police. He was a "happy, easy boy" according to his babysitter and people they went to church with. She had left her husband before he went in the hospital and taken London, his grandparents were preparing to fight for him, but hadn't yet because their son hoped he could put his family back together. Even she acknowledged that she had many, many offers of help and that her in-laws were caring for her husband. I am not sure she deserves your compassion, even though you are compassionate enough to offer it.

  4. "I hate my son's autism but love my son" is the virtual equivalent of "i hate my son's homosexuality but love my son", or "I hate my son's race, but I love my son." Autism is a part of your son, like his hair color, race, gender, et al. Instead of seeing your son as "damaged goods", nurture the hidden talents you dont realize are there.

    1. Anonymous

      Homosexuality or race doesn't prevent one to be independent and happy human being… Regarding hidden talents, yes, learn to appreciate them. The problem is if there will be someone who will appreciate them enough to love and treat the child well after you die.

  5. the day will come where an autistic throws their parent off a bridge and then everybody says they're "criminals", the category that these moms fall under

  6. Anonymous

    To be hearing voices this poor Mum was in a psychotic state and her counselor should have got immediate intervention for her. When her mental illness is back under management she will need to live with what she has done for the rest of her life, that is punishment enough, I hope she gets the help she deserves and London RIP your beautiful little man. Such a sad sad situation.

  7. Anonymous

    A very good insightful a sister and grandmother of Autistic individuals, you explain the frustration and desperation many people feel, who are denied a "safety net" in our health care systems. Don't really think people, who have not walked in our shoes….should be making comments about spellcasters , their marital problems, and a disease that they have no familiarity with, on this blog. Just sayin………

  8. Anonymous

    If you do not have a child with a disability then you should not be weighing in on this conversation on this particular blog… Yes you are entitled to your own opinion and your own feelings about this topic!

    I have a son that is 10 who is non-verbal autistic with sensory & aggression issues, If I didn't get help for myself I would not be in the position to help him, Being beat on by your child is terrifying especially only at 10 he is already much stronger than myself, I often wonder how I'm going to be able to handle him as he gets bigger, this had been a real issue for me about a year ago, so bad that I had convinced myself that I could no longer handle it and started thinking about ending my own life and attempted it. (NEVER once thought of harming him)…..In the middle of having this huge breakdown I somehow found my strength to pull it together and get some help…

    It's extremely hard when you feel like you have no support, no one that understands, and no one there to help you if you can't help yourself…

    I think every family that gets an Autism Diagnosis should immediately find a therapist…

  9. Anonymous

    I posted at 11:17…continuation.

    I also have a child with Autism. And I also have depression and anxiety. I was actually suicidal, but did not want to kill my children. I have worked in the medical field as well and have seen how stress takes a toll. This is not the usual stress of a person who is stressed about school, work, family. It is a fear, blame, hopelessness, helplessness. It is doctors and schools. It is others that don't understand. People trying to tell you how to deal with your child and actually being told that the child will "get better" and actually hoping for this and then disappointment when it never happens. It is so many other things that could go on and on…compile them ALL together as they build and build. If you have help, great! If you have support…even better! But don't sit back and judge anyone until a decade is spent in those shoes.

  10. Anonymous

    He didn't say he would kill his own child. He merely stated that high levels of stress can make certain people snap. The lack of compassion (as some are showing here) may contribute to the death of these children. My goodness, was the entire blog even read?

    While I would never kill my child (ren), I feel sorry for her as well. Mental illness is serious. If any of you are unfortunate to know her mind or experience what she has you perhaps would feel pity too. I am in no way say she should have killed her child. It seems that she was trying to get help. Being looked at her like she should just deal with it may have made her feel she could go to no one else.

    I don't know her, no one knows her mind, and judgement should be left to the ones that count.

    And before the Grammer police start picking out little errors…there are more important issues than feeling the need to point out other's mistakes. We try to teach are kids to be considerate and kind and turn around pointing out flaws…isn't that a form of bullying too.

  11. Anonymous

    While I can't imagine harming my son, I also can't explain the terror i feel when i think about his life without me. There are no facilities in our area, and i don't know if it'd be a realistic alternative if there was. Fear, fear and more fear. It's a miracle that we don't hear more of these stories.

    1. Anonymous

      Exactly, who will care for our children when we are gone.

    2. Anonymous

      The unknown of my child's future if something happened to me is the scariest part of Autism for me…

    3. Anonymous

      Yes… terror of the future. I feel the same way 🙁

  12. Anonymous

    So does this mean with all of you understanding why she did it, you would do it too if it came down to it? That's sad. Really really sad. I feel bad for all of your children. What a shame. Smh.

    1. JayBee

      Understanding is not the same as being willing to do something. As mentioned already, this woman was in a psychotic state. I understand because my first husband had psychoses and did terrible things to me when psychotic. I also work with people with psychoses including some who have hurt their kids when psychotic. It's not something they choose to do.

      Just because I understand their actions and feel great pity for them, doesn't mean I'd do the same as them. I'm not psychotic and would never hurt my kids. Doesn't mean I can't feel sorry for someone who does.

    2. Anonymous

      This woman was in a psychotic state and has done something that she would not do if she was not suffering psychosis. Try living with voices and see how dominant they become. She is probably still unaware of the reality of the situation.

    3. Anonymous

      No… having empathy does not mean that we are okay with killing our children. Are you being obtuse on purpose? Did you even read the post or just the parts that allow you to feel superior? And if you REALLY believed that we are all cool with killing children, you wouldn't say something so flippant and arrogant as "What a shame. Smh." No. If you really believed that and cared at all about our children (as you claim to) then you would be truly and deeply alarmed, not smug and condescending. So… please, get over yourself and maybe consider being part of the solution, instead of being just a heckler.

  13. Maternal Cortisol Levels and Behavior Problems in Adolescents and Adults with ASD it has graphs which are kind of self explanatory.

    1. Anonymous

      The difference is this: You probably are not mentally ill. You didn't go to the Dr. seeking mental health help and then were told to come back in 2 days and we can adjust your meds. Your husband did not need surgery for a massive growth on his brain and ended up with a Multiple Sclerosis type of side effect from that surgery. Hopefully your dad did not just die on top of it. I do not condone this child's death, but I do condone the treatment she received for her mental health condition. They have records of her illness and family situation. Once again, someone did not do their job, and possibly the life of a child was lost because of that kind of neglectfulness.

    2. Anonymous

      What does this prove? Mothers of asd children have stress. We already knew that. I cry every day from stress… does this mean I'm going to kill my child. No. You're going to need a more valid point than saying asd causes stress in mothers.

  14. I agree with you, what these mothers did to their kids is horrible, it is murder. My heart goes out to those poor babies. While angry I do feel compassion for these mothers as well. I can't help but wonder what happened to cause things to get to the point of "mother willing to kill child". Yes these mothers need to be punished, but I do thing we need a better understanding as to why they did it. The more we understand the better able we will be to prevent it from happening again.

    1. Anonymous

      I have come close to killing my child because I love him so much and could only see terrible things in his future. Do you think punishing me would have helped the state of mind I was in, would it have helped my other children. In fact I planned to kill myself, how could I as a loving mother live with killing my own child. To see your own child lost in a world of despair, to see them bullied, to see them totally unresponsive to any help offered – what future could I see for him?

  15. Anonymous

    i agree that completely with what you said…. i tried to say something of the same thing to a facebook autism sight and was pretty much told i was stupid….but i personally know people that are mentally ill and in having conversations with them they truly bo elieve what they are saying and thinking is true and correct….i can tell you about someone that is mentally ill and says that jesus tells her to steal things from wal mart she truly believes this and that is why she does it… NOT in anyway justifying her actions just saying I wish that there was a hotline or a place for people that need help to go to or call so that they can drop there kids off without fear of punishment from the law or a place where family members can get help for their loved ones that are really starting to NOT be normal anymore so that help can be given and in the least the child can be taken care of until the parent is "sane" again. And all i got from the autism sight is that "people with mental illness just need to know that killing is not a option" and i want to literally slap my forhead and yell DUH because most (not all) mentally ill people dont realize what they are doing is wrong some dont even realize that what they do to someone is going to harm them or some think that what they are harming is a demon or something not human……i think its horrific and pray that it never happens again that someone murders there child and i truly want help available to those that need it so that one person might choose to use the help instead of spiraling into a place they cant get out of

  16. Ultimately when some one is to the point of committing such a heinous act, the last thought is not. "What will bloggers on the internet think?" So weather we harshly judge or show compassion, it doesn't change what happened and it won't prevent it from happening again. Maybe we should change the conversation.

  17. At some point we have to ask ourselves how we become part of the solution. While I in no way condone these parents, I do have to ask myself "now what?". How many people stepped forward and offered respite care? How many people offered to help clean or cook or do laundry for these families that had a child that seemed to require 24/7 supervision ( arms length supervision I would venture to guess). How many people offered to run to the grocery store for these parents with a child that probably did not transition well from home, to car, to store, back to car and then back to home? How many people offered to help make the house a safe place for a child that may have been prone to hurt themselves? Who stepped forward with a hug and an offer to help get these parents through their day? Perhaps, instead of making a mental list of how "evil" we perceive these parents as being, we should instead spend that energy making a mental list of "what can I do to help?".

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you!! This is perfect!

  18. Anonymous

    Thank you. I have been saying the same thing, but have been attacked for it. Seven years ago while living in Oregon my kids lost their father. He went to the local DHS office and told them he was suicidal. He was told to come back in two weeks that they couldn't help him. He took his life 4 days later. The mental health services in Oregon are awful.

  19. People who do these things are desperate. To say she is 'evil' is so judgmental and harsh to say the least. It sounds like this poor woman was going everywhere to get help and the truth is that the HELP is few and far between. That is what we should be judging right now. To say that you would NEVER do something like this is unrealistic….especially if YOU have not walked one minute in this woman's shoes. Is it right what she did? NO. Do I feel sad for that poor child? Of course, I cringe thinking how he must have felt so confused. But do I understand on some level? Yes I do. I work with many, many parents, desperate parents, parents who who have been through the mill of therapists and experts, parents who have been judged, criticized and bullied, parents who don't know where to turn, parents who've been told, you're on a one year waiting list etc etc. These parents LIVE in full blown crisis mode every day and there is NO respite. There is NO solution most of the time and when there are solutions, there are waiting lists.
    The real thing we should be holding up to scrutiny is HOW little is spent on disability services and how bloody hard it is for parents to jump through hoops to get the bare minimum of what they need. I read Autism Dad's posts and just want to cry. But I also want to laugh because thank God this man has a sense of humour, because it obviously is what sustains him. It also sounds like he and his wife support each other. Imagine if tomorrow, that support was lost or gone. Please I'm begging you all to stop judging the parents and put that energy into campaigning for better awareness, education, services and funding.

  20. Anonymous

    Thanks for this. Yes, parents who are coping with challenging behaviour from their children live a stress filled life. I can identify so much with mothers who become mentally ill because of the life they lead with their children. I have come close to it myself. Out of love for my son and despair at his future, I became quite unable to see how wrong my feelings were.I planned to kill him as I could see no future for him except homelessness and/or prison and a lifetime of abuse from almost everyone. And then I would kill myself as I could not live with myself after killing my child. Fortunately I was seeing a counsellor at the time and managed to get to see her despite my despair. She helped me realise that I could not do this, that I had no right to do this to my son, got me to see my own doctor, who sent me for more help and got me on anti depressants.I'm sharing this to show that the feeing of a need to kill is not only from self defence but a warped sort of love. Now two years on, my MH has vastly improved and I am so grateful to my counsellor for how she helped me that night, and that I went to see her.

    1. Anonymous

      Tammy Kat, I think you misunderstood me. I did not write very clearly, it is a distressing time for me to remember. I never fell out of love with my son. My feelings were always prompted by love. i could only see awful things happening to him in the future and it was my love for him that made me think that death was the only answer.

    2. Yes thank you for sharing this. Your explanation helped me see a tiny bit of what may have happened to these mothers. I couldn't get past the "how could you!" of it all, but the "falling out of love" from stress and then mental illness explained more to me than anything. I could never excuse their behaviours of course but just wanted to thank you for coming forward and I'm very glad that you are out of that darkness now.

    3. Anonymous

      Thank you for sharing this! Depression and anxiety can become all consuming. The thoughts you have become REAL. I'm so glad you were able to get out of the darkness! You should be so proud of yourself 🙂

  21. Exactly! That is why I didn't comment on that post about Jillian McCabe. I REALLY didn't know how to state ore process all I was feeling. One part of me was disgusted and outraged at what she had done to her son, while the other part of me wondered what was happening in her life, how severe was her son's autism, did he go into rages, become violent etc. I then began to get emotional because although I have no thoughts of killing my son or myself, I felt sorry for her and sad for both her and her son. I know how hard it is to get GOOD medical treatment for mental illness. I know this because , I have family members who committed suicide because of their mental unwellness and couldn't get the help they kept desperately trying to get. I also know from raising my autistic son who is extremely violent on a daily basis how wearing it can become on your mind, body and spirit. I cry by myself a lot! I have gone to counselling, had to put my daughter though counseling and have had several therapist tell me I should have my son put into a care facility. I will be honest and say the thought crosses my mind SEVERAL times a day, especially on days where he is extremely violent, combative, and I have had to restrain him and my body is getting put through the ringer. How do you explain to your two year old who's hysterical, that his big brother (who is mom's size) is autistic and is hurting himself and others so mom is doing this for his safety and everybody elses??? How do you Explain to your straight A Very well behaved and kind teenage daughter that no, her brother may never outgrow this stage in his autism and that we can't do normal things that other families do, families like her friends have…. like going to amusement parks, back to school night etc. Because her brother is going. Have a meltdown and start screaming and flipping furniture over and start ramming people like a football player. How do you wipe away the humiliation she is feeling? My daughter started cutting herself and became extremely depressed due to all that or family was going through. I had to put her through counseling to get her well. When is as parents have a child with Autism, the entire family has autism. It is in my opinion one of the most destructive disabilities there are out there! It is very unkind to the person diagnosed and their families. Those of you who have an Autistic child, teenager, know that autism hardly ever comes alone either! There is always epilepsy, ADD, ADHD, bipolar, ODD, depression, schizophrenia. Then of course there's the wonderful skin rashes, digestive problems, allergies and dint you live it when they need dental care. To Loma Linda we go to have our kids sedated just to get their teeth CLEANED!!! Time for my son's shower? God help me! First I have to wrestle him into the shower, then I have to move add quickly as possible all the while he's screaming bloody murder that the water hurts him(not the temp). Son needs a haircut? Here we go again! Now I'm.trying to catch him as he's bolting off and screaming because he hates his head TOUCHED period (those good ole sensory issues) I love my son. I HATE AUTISM!!!

    1. Anonymous

      Hang in there! Keep talking about it. Sometimes talking helps. We are listening. You are not alone.

  22. I agree 100%. I haven't time yet to write about Jillian, but I wrote very similar thoughts regarding Kelli Stapleton.

  23. Anonymous

    You are not a monster in any way. You are a compassionate, empathetic human being. I do believe this woman had problems. The fact that she called the police after she did and and told them was a sign of it. Sane people do not call the police, they lie about what they did because they know it was wrong. Someone who does not seem to think murdering a child is wrong, or a viable option is not thinking in a sane manner. Remember Andrea Yates? She was so deep in the delusion that her children needed to be saved that she killed all 5 then called her husband and the police. She honestly thought it was the correct thing to do which shows there was a serious mental health issue at work. However, they need to be put in a place where we, the general population, are safe from them. A mental institution would be more appropriate in such a case. As far as other cases where a parent has tried to kill a child, I do have empathy but look at the individual's actions. If they are deceptive about explaining the act, it could mean it was planned and they know what they were doing was wrong. Again, they also need to be kept contained to protect us, but those type of individuals should be in a regular prison.

  24. Not a monster, just a human!

  25. Ruth

    To the Anonymous person that commented above, I think that you might be missing the point of what everyone is saying. This "help" that you are saying that these parents should go get is nearly impossible to access for various reason. Further more many people, the Oregon mother included, do try to get help. If you read the article she was supposed to get her medicine adjusted the next day, so what other help was she supposed to be getting? I completely understand the duality of wanting someone to be held responsible for their actions but still feeling heart broken at the idea that they felt those actions were the only way. I don't feel like I can judge someone in such a state of mental anguish, or anyone for that matter. Condemn the action, yes but the person… I am not so sure. I just keep going back to us as parents of children on the spectrum and how hurtful and upsetting it is when people have no clue about our kids and what we are going through but want to judge our parenting and how and why we do what we do. Then something like this happens and we, the same people that get upset when parents of NT children judge, will turn around and judge someone else who couldn't cope as "well" as we think they should have. Isn't this the same sentiment that we get so upset about when it comes from outside of the autism community. I know that it is such a horrific situation but I think compassion should always trump anger and judgement.

    1. Anonymous

      It's okay to feel compassion for the mother on some level but I'm sick of people making excuses for people like her. There is no excuse for killing any child disabled or not. All of you making excuses and being apologists for cases like this are partly to blame. I was sicked by all the excuses made for Kelli Stapleton and now look at what's happened, another child is dead. Another child is dead because our community makes excuses instead of saying murdering these kids is wrong not matter what!

    2. Anonymous

      "Ok so hmm… i tried to get help, it didn't work. I don't feel like getting my meds tomorrow, let my murder my innocent child instead." I have 2 autistic children. I couldn't even imagine laying a finger on them never mind throwing them into freezing cold water over a bridge. And to have pity on that woman? What about the child? Who has pity for him? Does anyone mention how he suffered??? THIS is what disgusts me.

  26. It's easy to pass judgment on other parents, but Autism is STRESSFUL (special needs in general) more stressful than you can explain to anyone ever. It often brings me to the point of tears, it stresses out my NT child and it certainly puts stress on my marriage. What I try to keep in mind though is how hard it must be in my ASD child… who has trouble expressing their wants and needs or can't control their sensory input/output which (my daughters main issue). If you don't have special needs in your day to day life you have no idea and I mean you just really don't, you just can't, have a TRUE idea of how stressful day to day life is with a special needs child.

    Now having said that there is NEVER EVER EVER any excuse for hurting your child! I mean I couldn't imagine getting to any point where I would want my child DEAD! Suicide isn't a real answer either of course but if it's that or murder well come one! If you've gotten to the point where living is unbearable then why wouldn't you just kill yourself not an not your innocent child I don't understand!?!

    1. Anonymous

      Never ever? What if the life of autistic child was permanent stress and frustration and suffering and there was no real help to improve? Would you watch its torment without any thought if such live is worth living? And if you coulnt watch it any more, would you commit suicide (it means leaving your suffering child alone and in even worse situation) just to keep your hands clean?

    2. autism, stressful or not, doesn't cause murder. nor is it a reason for murder whatsoever. if you really don't think it's an excuse for murder, then you don't say it's stressful because that's giving an excuse

  27. We need to take the stigma away from mental illness. I will now go have a good cry and pray for us all….

  28. Anonymous

    It's murder. Cold blooded murder. If you love your child you don't MURDER them. I'm tired of all these excuses these so-called mothers give. There is no excuse to end your child's life. I understand mental illness is a real problem. Go get help. Don't take it out on your kid.

    1. Anonymous

      When a mentally il person is suicidal they classically don't reach out to anyone for help which is part of their condition. A normal person who was mentally adjusted wouldn't try and take their life as well as their severely autistic daughter or son. Im sick of people having not an iota of compassion for any of these women because have you noticed its always the mothers of autistic kids that snap because they are the ones who are doing the lions share of the caring for an autistic child. Im not saying fathers are useless by any means at all. Kellie stapleton should have rang the welfare departments and asked for residential care for her daughter or just left. I believe her constant head injuries attributed to her mental state, PTSD and suicidal thoughts . Her husband has said she has been "crazy" for a long time. Well why the hell didn't he insist she get help and now HE wont forgive her for losing it. No I don't condone it but I can see how she got to that place on that dreadful day. Issabelle didn't deserve what happened to her. That poor kid. My grand daughter is autistic and that Dr. Phil show opened my eyes to the fact that if your autistic child becomes a violent autistic teenager you have to have other care for them outside the home. The Stapletons went too long which was the undoing in this tragic case.

    2. if she was psychotic, someone should've noticed it and called CPS

    3. JayBee

      I don't think you do understand the real problem of mental illness. The more that comes out in the news, the more obvious this woman was suffering psychoses. Psychotic people are out of touch with reality, they don't have control over what they are doing.

      Just because rational people like you and I would never hurt our kids no matter how depressed or stressed we are by their behaviour, things are different for an insane psychotic person. Maybe if you worked with psychotic people for a while you'd have some understanding.

      I mean this woman even asked for help – do you know how hard it is to get someone with psychoses to see they have a problem and need help? This woman obviously tried to get help.

      Rather than condemn her, condemn the services who turned her away! London's blood is on their hands!

    4. Anonymous

      But it only applies to infants.

    5. Jane

      Oregon has the safe haven law, so she could have simply dropped him off at a hospital, police or fire station or church. Killing him was not necessary. I really can have no sympathy for her. My family has a number of autistic and Tourette's children in it. None of them are at risk of being murdered by any of us. None.

    6. Anonymous

      I think everyone is entitled to an opinion and just because you are upset with what the mother did and hate her for it does not mean you are lacking compassion. I think the author indeed displays compassion, for the victim, the child who is now dead.

    7. Anonymous

      They did try to get help! Try reading before having an opinion. Try compassion before judgement.

  29. I agree with the above comments. Families are struggling. Mental Heath need to improve!! There is not enough services out there. Those that are there take months to get approved. Then it takes months to find people to do the job. Families do not complain about this help, because they know they have all there is!! The cost of medications can be hundreds a month.Do you know what its like to have a child threaten or hit you and no one to help?? Lets not judge. What are you doing to help these families? Maybe make a meal or offer to sit while the parents go grocery shopping? Offer some respite, listen to them, and yes Pray for them.

  30. Malynda

    No, it doesn't make you a monster. It makes you human. Part of being an autism parent is our impressive ability to over-think just about everything (seriously. EVERYTHING.). We have had to re-wire our most basic ways of thinking into something that somewhat resembles a brain made for two. Our opinions and feelings aren't just based on emotion anymore… They're so much more methodical now. I get what you're saying. 100% I get it.
    It's appalling. Any way you slice or dice it, a mother murdering her child is an unspeakable horror. It's so difficult to even wrap my head around it. But, I do know this. Mental illness can be an all-consuming hell. Darkness that we, as autism parents, catch glimpses and pieces of but by the graces of sanity, we remain tethered to just enough light. Some people, sadly do not.
    And that just breaks my heart.

  31. My son is classically autistic and times are sometimes hard with him as well. I completely agree that I want to feel compassion for these people as well as feel like what they did was horrible. Living in Oregon, I know how horrible mental health services are here, and the standard seems to always be "sedate and send you home." I hope that these events really do bring light to mental health care and the lack thereof not only in Oregon but all over the country.

  32. Anonymous

    No it does not make you a monster. It's very easy to wish something horrible on someone who does something horrible, but revenge fixes nothing. There have to be more resources out there, and we're going to have to stand up to all the things in the way and force change. It's not going to come if we ask nice and keep voting people into office who don't give a damn. It's not just parents dealing with autism who snap. It can happen in any family given the right recipe of circumstances. Mental health parity hasn't gone far enough either, even with new laws in place, my copays to see a therapist are 50 dollars a visit. The "sliding scale" clinic nearest to me charges 75 dollars. I cannot afford that, and I doubt I'm alone. It should be the same 20 dollar copay I would have for my medical doctor. So many things are wrong with how we deal with mental health, disabilities of all kinds and just basic human struggles, I don't know if much of it is fixable. But, I do think we need to start bothering the living shit out of everyone in elected office and holding them responsible for helping their constituencies have happier lives.