Autistic 8-year-old Randle Barrow killed by his mother

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Callista
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16 Dec 2013, 1:37 pm

Yes, this is another one of those stories.

Randle died on Saturday--we think. We don't know for sure, but they found his body drowned in the Tennessee River, and he'd been missing since then. Before she killed herself, his mother admitted to killing him.

Randle's mother wasn't alone; she had a lot of help. Randle went to a special school for autistic kids. When she got sick, family friends took Randle in and cared for him.

Randle wasn't suffering. He was happy. His teachers describe him as joyful, always laughing, full of empathy for his classmates.

And, oh yeah, the media are talking about her killing him because she was just SO overwhelmed by having an autistic child.

Randle could've been on Wrong Planet in another few years. Now we'll never get to meet him.


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Willard
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16 Dec 2013, 2:05 pm

Callista wrote:
And, oh yeah, the media are talking about her killing him because she was just SO overwhelmed by having an autistic child.


...because it's soOoOooOo overwhelming having a child who plays by themselves and hardly talks to anyone. :roll:

Obviously like she had mental health issues of her own.



Sethno
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16 Dec 2013, 2:07 pm

There are plenty of NT parents who kill their kids...their NT kids...when they're feeling overwhelmed by life.

It's not just the autism on the part of the child. It's parents with their own mental/coping problems.

Randle could have just as easily been NT.

It's a shame when any child dies at the hand of a parent.


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Last edited by Sethno on 16 Dec 2013, 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Norepinephrine
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16 Dec 2013, 2:10 pm

Oh god, I always cringe whenever I see these stories. It's sickening how so many parents and other caregivers go onto kill their children. I don't care what the public or media pedantically insists; stress and a lack of support can never justify killing your own child, and so we should have every right to judge them for committing such atrocities. Hell, as it appears, the boy displayed only moderate symptoms of autism and had full access to care and support. So I can't even begin to imagine why this mother would stage a murder-suicide.



Dillogic
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16 Dec 2013, 2:18 pm

For some reason, I think the murderer would have done something similar no matter the disorder or lack thereof.



redrobin62
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16 Dec 2013, 2:51 pm

His mother had stabbed a Huntsville Hospital nurse recently and was arrested for it so we know she had some deep issues. Very tragic story.



Sethno
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16 Dec 2013, 3:37 pm

redrobin62 wrote:
His mother had stabbed a Huntsville Hospital nurse recently and was arrested for it so we know she had some deep issues. Very tragic story.



8O

Well, it's a relief to hear the authorities could at least see that the mother was still perfectly qualified to continue caring for a child. Especially one with special needs. :roll:


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Opi
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16 Dec 2013, 4:09 pm

Sethno wrote:
redrobin62 wrote:
His mother had stabbed a Huntsville Hospital nurse recently and was arrested for it so we know she had some deep issues. Very tragic story.





8O

Well, it's a relief to hear the authorities could at least see that the mother was still perfectly qualified to continue caring for a child. Especially one with special needs. :roll:


no freakin' kidding.

it's an obviously tragic event and even more so because as you point out it sounds like it could have been avoided. i hope the media is not spinning it around the poor child's autism rather than what's already been pointed out in this thread and should be glaringly obvious


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League_Girl
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16 Dec 2013, 6:14 pm

Is there a link for this?

If redrobin62 is telling the truth about the mother, she sounds nuts if she stabbed a nurse. It sounds like the boy's autism is irrelevant to the story since the mother sounds unstable.


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Sethno
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16 Dec 2013, 6:28 pm

Opi wrote:
...i hope the media is not spinning it around the poor child's autism rather than what's already been pointed out in this thread and should be glaringly obvious


Unfortunately, according to Callista (who opened this thread), they do seem to be saying she was stressed out due to his autism.

Callista wrote:
...And, oh yeah, the media are talking about her killing him because she was just SO overwhelmed by having an autistic child...


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OliveOilMom
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16 Dec 2013, 6:37 pm

Norepinephrine wrote:
Oh god, I always cringe whenever I see these stories. It's sickening how so many parents and other caregivers go onto kill their children. I don't care what the public or media pedantically insists; stress and a lack of support can never justify killing your own child, and so we should have every right to judge them for committing such atrocities. Hell, as it appears, the boy displayed only moderate symptoms of autism and had full access to care and support. So I can't even begin to imagine why this mother would stage a murder-suicide.


Cause we can totally get why other people do it?

I think killing your child takes a serious level of crazy. While suicide can be understood by people who aren't suicidal, and even though there is usually a viable alternative to suicide which the suicidal person just can't see or believe that it's viable at the time, this level of crazy, where you kill your child first isn't understandable by the rest of us. We aren't that crazy. Hell, I tried to kill myself, obviously not very well, but I tried. I wouldn't hurt my kid though, no matter what. If one of my kids killed another one of my kids and admitted it, or I saw it, I couldn't even kill that kid even though I would kill anyone else who killed my child and damn the consequences to me.

However, while I think that seriously mentally ill people should usually get treatment, when you kill your child like that, I think you should be tortured to death. Well, obviously not in the case of a murder suicide, but still. You know what I mean.



Sethno
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16 Dec 2013, 6:38 pm

League_Girl wrote:
Is there a link for this?

If redrobin62 is telling the truth about the mother, she sounds nuts if she stabbed a nurse. It sounds like the boy's autism is irrelevant to the story since the mother sounds unstable.


http://www.myfoxal.com/story/24230503/w ... ital-nurse

http://whnt.com/2013/12/14/police-say-r ... s-herself/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... nurse.html


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Verdandi
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16 Dec 2013, 7:27 pm

I don't think it's "crazy." Mental illness is not an indicator for violence and mentally ill people as a group are more likely to be targets of violence.

Also, OliveOilMom, I agree with much of what you said. I would argue that in fact a lot of people sympathize with parents who kill their disabled children, which is why these stories turn into the rubbish they always are, with the media and others painting the parent as a passive victim of having a disabled child that pushed them to do literally anything for relief. That is what frustrates me about these stories, is that the parents are made out to be sympathetic while their children are basically just forgotten.

I would argue that a lot of people really do not understand suicide and that I think on some level it scares them, but that is such a different conversation.



wozeree
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16 Dec 2013, 7:50 pm

I think if I'd of had a kid and had the circumstances been stressful enough I could have lost it and at least hurt the child. I was never meant to be a mother, I never wanted to be one and thank goodness I never have been one. Maybe that's her problem all along, not his autism, but that she's just not equipped. Doesn't have to mean she's crazy.



Callista
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16 Dec 2013, 10:30 pm

Quote:
I think if I'd of had a kid and had the circumstances been stressful enough I could have lost it and at least hurt the child. I was never meant to be a mother, I never wanted to be one and thank goodness I never have been one. Maybe that's her problem all along, not his autism, but that she's just not equipped. Doesn't have to mean she's crazy.
She wasn't equipped to take care of him, mostly because she was sick herself (no, I don't know what kind of illness). But she didn't have to take care of him. Family friends were doing that for her. What this lady did was ask for her son to come back to live with her--while he was living with people who were raising him just fine. Shortly thereafter, she killed him.

Sound familiar? Katie McCarron's mom did the same thing. Katie was staying with her grandparents. Her mom took her back and then killed her. I've seen this pattern several times--it may be that a murderous parent is more likely to act just after a child comes home from a custodial placement of some sort, whether foster care or a hospitalization. Issy Stapleton's mom tried to kill her soon after she got home from a residential center, for example.

Dillogic wrote:
For some reason, I think the murderer would have done something similar no matter the disorder or lack thereof.
Quite possibly. However, autism sharply raises the risk that you will be a murder victim.

Prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies
Quote:
The results suggest that up to a quarter of children with disabilities will experience violence within their lifetimes and confirm that children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be victims of violence than are their peers without disabilities.

I'd like to note that this is just studying reported violence. All those times that kids are hit by their parents, and it's written off because the kid is autistic; all the times that the child is beaten up by others and it's written off because the child is "asking for it"--those aren't reported. The actual prevalence is much higher.

Autistic people have a developmental disability, which puts us into the most vulnerable group of disabled people.

Children are the second most likely age group to become murder victims (young adults are the most likely).

Murders of autistic children are less likely to be called homicide. Restraint deaths are likely to be termed "accidental". And more than one parent has tried and failed to disguise an autistic child's murder as "a tragic case of wandering away and drowning". It's easier to hide the murder of an autistic child than a neurotypical one.

Is it possible that autism had nothing to do with this particular murder? Could be. But, on average, that "three to four times more likely" figure means that something related to autism makes a child more likely to die by murder. Much more likely.

And when you get news articles like this, it's kind of hard to pretend autism had nothing to do with it:
Stress, health issues, mental illness - what led reportedly loving Huntsville mother to kill autistic son?
Quote:
Outwardly, 42-year-old Delicia Barrow was a devoted mother who took her autistic son to a special school, to a summer camp for kids with special needs and events and playdates at every opportunity.

Those who knew the single mother and her son, 8-year-old Randle, say she wanted a better life for him.

Today, following the police report that Barrow drowned her son and then killed herself, members of Huntsville's autism and special needs communities are grieving their loss and wondering what signs they missed that her life had become too overwhelming to bear.
...
Rhonda Brewster - a family friend and owner of KidVenture, a Madison play place where Barrow often brought Randle to play - said Barrow also had ongoing and "significant" health problems.... Brewster said she is concerned that people are judging Barrow without knowing all the facts.

"Despite appearances, Delicia was a good mother," Brewster said. "It is my belief that there were too many holes in her safety net, and she and her son obviously fell through.

"People who are suffering from an undiagnosed mental, and maybe even physical illnesses, don't always reach out," Brewster said. "Had any of us known about the event at the hospital, we would have stepped in and tried to intervene, to patch some holes in her safety net. Unfortunately, her name wasn't published in the media, so we didn't know."

So yeah, this is being pitched as yet another "poor autism mom snaps and kills her defective kid" story.

Randle had plenty of help. His mom's friend took care of him when she got too sick to do it. He went to a special school, and to a learning center. He had therapy and education. She wasn't "stuck" taking care of him--she had friends who were perfectly willing to do it for her if she couldn't.

There's no more excuse for this than for any other murder-suicide.


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League_Girl
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17 Dec 2013, 12:59 am

Really? Anyone here doesn't even think if someone kills more than one person, there is seriously something wrong with them? No sane or normal person would kill someone.


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