Mom guilty in filicide of autistic daughter

Page 1 of 1 [ 12 posts ] 

ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 26,530
Location: Long Island, New York

16 Oct 2021, 9:07 am

Elko woman guilty of 2nd degree-murder in daughter’s death

Quote:
An Elko County woman has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her adult daughter after prosecutors say she “snapped” and strangled the 24-year-old with autism because of pent up emotional stress from serving as her primary caregiver for decades.

Elko County Deputy District Attorney Justin Barainca had asked jurors to find Judith Zavala, 62, guilty of first-degree murder before the jury returned the verdict on the lesser charge Thursday in the 2020 death, the Elko Daily Free Press reported.

He said she told police her daughter, April, was a high-functioning autistic, but changes in April’s behavior and incontinence in previous months prompted Judith to give round-the-clock care.

Public defender Kelsey Angeley told jurors that Judith Zavala had not left her home in two years and “broke” on the day of April’s death after “years of exhaustion” and “months of desperation” being her daughter’s sole caregiver.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


Kraichgauer
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 43,954
Location: Spokane area, Washington state.

16 Oct 2021, 9:48 pm

Forgive me if I'm not sympathetic to the mother's alleged plight.


_________________
-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer


Persephone29
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Jun 2019
Age: 53
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,803
Location: Everville

16 Oct 2021, 11:01 pm

She could have put her in a 'care home.' I don't understand why parents think it's their soul responsibility to care for the individual forever. That's rarely sustainable, especially since we're all human and get tired.


_________________
Disagreeing with you doesn't mean I hate you, it just means we disagree.


cyberdad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Age: 54
Gender: Male
Posts: 23,581

16 Oct 2021, 11:24 pm

While I am no way supporting the mother's snap loss of control there are always mitigating circumstances in these types of stories.

My mother worked in institutional care of young adults in the 1970s and after a decade she couldn't handle the level of horrendous abuse of clients so she left. According to mum almost all females (many with autism) in institutional care have stories of physical/sexual and/or psychologically abuse.

The abuse is greater than what prisoners experience in maximum security because in addition to beatings, sexual abuse and psychological torment the clients are also drugged. There has been a code of silence to cover up the abuse like with orphanages, prisons and other similar types of institutions.

For this reason (and only this reason) I don't blame the mother for preferring to raise her 24yr old herself. Unfortunately it sounds like the mother was socially isolated and nobody was able (or wanted) to help. Perhaps her state, she was not eligible for in-home assistance or care. There are always people who fall through the cracks.



HeroOfHyrule
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 May 2020
Age: 20
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 6,838
Location: U.S.A.

16 Oct 2021, 11:36 pm

Quote:


I have no sympathy for someone who watches their child go unconscious and continues to strangle them for the around 5 minutes it takes to kill someone. I hope she rots in prison.


_________________
I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


cyberdad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Age: 54
Gender: Male
Posts: 23,581

16 Oct 2021, 11:43 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
Quote:


I have no sympathy for someone who watches their child go unconscious and continues to strangle them for the around 5 minutes it takes to kill someone. I hope she rots in prison.


Sounds like she lost her mind. Yes she has to face the consequences of what she has done. But perhaps the community/social services where she lives can be a little more involved rather than leaving mothers like this to fend for themselves.



Persephone29
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Jun 2019
Age: 53
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,803
Location: Everville

17 Oct 2021, 11:04 pm

Parents do not live forever... I also work with people like 'us' now. What I think about this subject keeps evolving. On the one hand, it's very difficult to watch these kids have a fit because they are being forced to learn in a specific way. It would be wonderful if the world would change for us, but it won't. And it's not kind, either.

I don't know what the solution is, I do know that from the beginning parents should be making plans and provisions for what will happen when they die or can no longer care for their child. It's also not a bad idea to have some sort of safe 'cooling off' spot for the child/adult child. A place where they can be placed for a short while. It could have their favorite objects and nothing they could harm themselves with. A two way mirror would be good for the parents to make sure they're ok, while allowing the parent to cool off too. But, many don't have money for that. It must be awful to have no respite.


_________________
Disagreeing with you doesn't mean I hate you, it just means we disagree.


Sweetleaf
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 32,856
Location: Somewhere in Colorado

17 Oct 2021, 11:21 pm

cyberdad wrote:
HeroOfHyrule wrote:
Quote:


I have no sympathy for someone who watches their child go unconscious and continues to strangle them for the around 5 minutes it takes to kill someone. I hope she rots in prison.


Sounds like she lost her mind. Yes she has to face the consequences of what she has done. But perhaps the community/social services where she lives can be a little more involved rather than leaving mothers like this to fend for themselves.


I have to agree with you there for sure. I would not defend what this woman did, but there probably should be better support for people like that kind of stuck in a support role. I mean people are not infallible and I guess I just have always figured we all have a potential monster living inside us and in certain circumstances it can be possible to lose it and then that can take over. I would not argue that justifies it or anything...I guess I just don't believe there are many people so pure that nothing at all could ever drive them to violence.



Joe90
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 21,285
Location: UK

18 Oct 2021, 4:48 am

Murder is never an answer. If the mother was that exhausted and stressed then she should have just hit her or something. Yes I know hitting is wrong and everything but it's still better than killing.


_________________
Female
Aged 31
On antidepressants
Have ASD, ADHD and anxiety disorder
Empathy score: 61 out of a possible 80. (High)


cyberdad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Age: 54
Gender: Male
Posts: 23,581

18 Oct 2021, 9:06 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Murder is never an answer. If the mother was that exhausted and stressed then she should have just hit her or something. Yes I know hitting is wrong and everything but it's still better than killing.


I'm guessing the hitting must have already preceded the strangling. If the daughter was already being hit for her incontinence and/or damaging the house then it was probably normalised punishment. It's a slippery slope and at some point her frustration was triggered when the daughter didn't respond to the physical punishment then the mother likely escalated her punishment.

People don't just snap out of the blue, there was probably a trail of fighting and tears leading to her final act.



Sweetleaf
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 32,856
Location: Somewhere in Colorado

18 Oct 2021, 10:46 pm

cyberdad wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
Murder is never an answer. If the mother was that exhausted and stressed then she should have just hit her or something. Yes I know hitting is wrong and everything but it's still better than killing.


I'm guessing the hitting must have already preceded the strangling. If the daughter was already being hit for her incontinence and/or damaging the house then it was probably normalised punishment. It's a slippery slope and at some point her frustration was triggered when the daughter didn't respond to the physical punishment then the mother likely escalated her punishment.

People don't just snap out of the blue, there was probably a trail of fighting and tears leading to her final act.


Well yeah, I would suspect the strangling was preceded by other physical abuse prior to that. Still feels kind of gross to reason about it because for sure it's wrong and she needs to face the consequences but at the same time there is probably more to the story than simply 'evil woman kills adult autistic child for no reason'. It could help save other autistic or disabled people in general at the mercy of care-givers at their wits end to try and determine that reason and create better preventative measures.



cyberdad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Age: 54
Gender: Male
Posts: 23,581

18 Oct 2021, 11:00 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
Still feels kind of gross to reason about it because for sure it's wrong and she needs to face the consequences but at the same time there is probably more to the story than simply 'evil woman kills adult autistic child for no reason'. It could help save other autistic or disabled people in general at the mercy of care-givers at their wits end to try and determine that reason and create better preventative measures.


One of the advantages of forums is that it allows exploration of taboo topics. The primary purpose behind understanding the mother's motivation is to understand the situations that lead to filicide of autistic kids. As you say, this helps prevent it from happening in the future (or at least minimising the risk of abuse).