I don’t have a title for this post about Katherine McCarron’s mother

“Not guilty” was the plea entered by Dr. Karen McCarron, who is charged with killing Katherine McCarron, her autistic three-year-old daughter. Dr. McCarron was charged with first degree murder, obstructing justice and concealing a homicide, and kept in hand and leg shackles as she approached the bench, as reported by WMBD today.

When questioned, her attorney`s only comment was that he would do whatever is in the best interest of his client. When asked how McCarron was holding up, her father said “not so good.”

It is almost too hard to read about Dr. McCarron and about her daughter.

But I think we have to.

Read the more detailed coverage about this case, Chicago Tribune: Daughter’s murder puts focus on toll of autism. An excerpt:

On May 13, McCarron drove her to daughter to her parents’ house, knowing they were not home, and smothered her, police say. She then drove home and carried Katie’s lifeless body into the house, past visiting family members and up to bed, as if the child were asleep.

She then went to the grocery store to buy ice cream, a trip captured on the store’s security cameras. A couple of hours later, police say, McCarron went upstairs, told relatives Katie wasn’t breathing, and began performing CPR.

Paramedics didn’t suspect foul play immediately, but at 1 a.m. the next morning, a relative called police and said McCarron was trying to overdose on over-the-counter medication.

When police arrived, the woman was embracing her husband, who had just arrived home from a business trip. Police say Paul McCarron was crying, but his wife was subdued. He asked her to tell the authorities what she had told him.

At first, she declined, telling police, “Nothing is going to help, and it’s not going to make any difference.”

I cannot even begin to sort out the mess here.

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    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      I have a title for it:


      That is what McCarron is. And she hopes to get by on a sympathy plea. Manipulative NT *****.

      Hi. I have strong feelings about this.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      I’m adding a link to a longer story in the Chicago Tribune—–it is happening, that Katherine is not getting mention in the media.

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      More about Karen.

      More whining from Lauri Hislope. I worked with her kid. I saw him more of the summer than she did. She has no place whining about services, or defending a murderer.

      It has nothing to do with the grace of god, it has to do with loving the child you are given.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      So what kind of group is ANSWERS (not well named, indeed)?

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      The print edition of the paper had the first and only picture I’ve seen of Katie McCarron throughout the entire coverage. I *think* it was taken outdoors – she’s smiling and looking at something off camera – a happy young child. I’ve searched the Trib site and it’s not online.

      I am sick over this coverage. I will try to see if I can compose an draft of an op-ed today. Meanwhile, here’s what I sent to disability advocates around Illinois and the country today in regard to the article (sent a copy to Bruce Dold, editor of the Trib as well):

      “This Trib article continues the posthumous assault on Katie McCarron. The headline says the murder puts a focus on the “toll” of autism. For the first time, though, there is mention that some disability advocates object way autism ‘advocacy’ groups are using the alleged murder to talk about the stress of autism. No
      disability advocates objecting to the wave of sympathy for the accused murder are actually quoted. Sheila Romano, director of the IL
      Council on Developmental Disabilities would have been an obvious candidate. And, of course, there is no mention that autistic people themselves are objecting the way Katie and her autism are being
      used as a way of talking about how awful it is (apparently) for to have a child with autism, no matter how it manifests. The sole remarks – once again – in defense of Katie’s life and telling others about the richness she brought to others is her grandfather, Mike McCarron. It’s about time these autism “advocates” start identifying
      more with the grieving father and paternal grandparents who actually raised and nurtured Katie than with the woman accused of killing her. The people who are grieving the loss of a beloved child, made worse by the so-called “advocacy” that has dominated press coverage.”

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      ANSWERS stands for Autism Needs Support WherEveR it Strikes.

      Gross huh?

      They’re all obsessed with biomedical and ABA and anyway to make their children “Normal”.

      As I said, I worked with Lauri Hislope’s son. She has no business complaining about lack of services. And Sue Grimm (another defender of McCarron)-her kids are both in full inclusion. And Patty Floyd, I worked with HER daughter too and she’s lovely AS SHE IS. Her NT (1 year younger) sister is a brat. I’d take the autistic one over the NT any day.

    • Mike McCarron

      I am Katie’s grandfather. I and my family would like to thank Stephen Drake for his comments. I too am fed up with the comments from “advocacy” spokespersons. How can people pretending to represent the good of children with autism ignore the murder of a beautiful and dear little child.
      When I see the lead in line “I don’t approve of murder; but…” I just have to buckle my seat belt because I know, here it comes. The advocate goes on to virtually admit it is OK, or understandable because Katie had autism. If these people are “advocates” for people with autism I can’t imagine what the “opponents” must be like.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Stephen Drake and Mike McCarron, thank you very, very much.

      Mr. McCarron, I cannot imagine what you and your family have been living through. I do not understand how people can say that the “stress and toll” of autism—that autism—could ever “explain” what happened to Katie. My son Charlie’s struggles have often been immense and he has hasdsome terrible, terrifying moments but these have only made us want to help him as much as we can. Charlie faces far more challenges and struggles on a day to day to basis than we his parents certainly do.

      We don’t approve of murder, period.

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      Mr McCarron,

      Unfortunately the ACTUAL advocates for autistic people are few and far between. Many (indeed most) are loudmouthed autistic folks like myself. Others are from the greater disability community. The parent advocates like Kristina, sadly, are few and far between. Unless one’s idea of advocacy is to resent the child and do everything in one’s power to make them “normal”, that is.

      THANK YOU for coming here, and for going to Phil Luciano, scumbag that he is, and telling us your feelings and for standing up and saying “NO it’s NOT OK”. It takes a brave soul to stand up and yell against the majority.

      Guess that makes you an advocate for autistic people, even if the autistic person you’re really standing up for was sadly taken away. I know a LOT of people very shaken by it.

      (and in case you come back and read this: at the Autism Society of America conference the autistic folk want to do something in memory of Katie, we were thinking black armbands. For myself, I was going to make a tote bag painted with a slogan and the names of the murdered autistics that are documented. Just don’t have a slogan. Maybe you have one? I’m available at kassiane@rettdevil.com if you’d prefer email).

    • http://www.mycommunitycareteam.com FrankTetto

      Of course the problem is not autism or any challenges individuals may face
      because of a particular disability.
      At the same time it is not accurate to not hold society accountable for its
      failures to provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
      Anytime a group of individuals are not afforded the opportunities available
      to the larger society, stress, poverty, lack of opportunities, and a poor
      future outlook, including fear prevail.
      Just like being born as a member of a particular racial group in the 1800′s
      was not a problem or a burden except for the fact the society of the day by
      its mores made life difficult for the minority group.
      Murder is not justified. Mercy killings are simply killings. At the same
      time to ignore the societal failures in reference to people with
      disabilities and the stresses families face is to simply have one’s head in
      the sand.
      All life is precious. The fact that a large segment of society devalues the
      deaths and conditions vulnerable persons face, reflects the need for
      advocacy efforts to protect and cherish life from birth to natural death.
      Kind Regards,
      Frank Tetto

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    • Mike McCarron

      Kassianne – thank you for your comments. I hope that black arm bands are not adopted. Katie was a joyful little girl, please remember her with a smile and a prayer.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Mr. Tetto, thanks very much for commenting here. It has been said before and here I am saying it: I certainly wish that we could all be conversing about these issues without the tragedy of Katie McCarron’s death having happened. I hope that, by keeping up the conversation, real change—-real understanding—can start to happen.

      With smiles and prayers, definitely.

      Kassiane, is anyone else you know planning to talk all this at ASA?

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      I know I am saying something during the women’s panel…Jerry Newport will probably say something…Stephen Shore, I HOPE, will…and in the autistic parents panel I can see Phil Schwarz saying something.

      Mr McCarron-
      I’ll see what I can do about the armbands…we want to, as a group, remember Katie, and also the young man who was killed the same weekend. Perhaps another color would be more appropriate? Unfortunately all we’ve learned about her is from you. No one in the media, or anywhere else, has talked about her-her likes, her dislikes, her personality. What we do know is that it’s a great tragedy, and what you’ve told us.

    • Valerie Brew-Parrish

      Too often, supposed advocates for the disabled are non-disabled know-it-alls. For them it’s a job and a big paycheck. Unfortunately, they know very little about disability issues. Mr. McCarron, my family has been praying for your family. My husband is blind and I am a polio survivor. We have a four year old autistic grandson that we adore. Our Mattie brings us incredible joy. To me, the term “mercy killing” is an oxymoron. Steve Drake & Diane Coleman of Not Dead Yet have done an excellent job informing the public that people with disabilities have good quality of life. We are not burdens. Our lives have meaning. Our thoughts are with you and Katie at this tragic time.
      Val & Rick Parrish

    • Mike McCarron

      I don’t feel I have my head in the sand.

      I appologize for not being clearer in my comments.

      When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, I don’t blame the moral decay of our social system for it. I blame the killer but I go on trying to improve our social system.

      When a small child is murdered, I don’t blame the social system or any disability. I blame the killer. When the so-called “advocates” who have never laid eyes on Katie show up to use her death as a plank in their platform I get angry.

      When they start using a disability as an excuse for murder and say it is understandable, I go well beyond anger. When these “advocates” speak of the pressure that a care giver is under 24×7, I don’t disagree with that. But my son and my wife were Katie’s care givers for the past 20 months while Katie attend a special school in North Carolina. They not only held up to that pressure but they treasure every moment they had with Katie and are devasted by her loss. Since they lived it and loved it how can anyone use that pressure as an excuse.

      I support the hundreds of real advocates that get up every day and try to make things better than they were the day before. I am revolted by the interlopers that want to minimize the taking of a child’s life.

      I hope that I have not responded too emotionally, because I value the opinions and the people who comment on this site. I just get frustrated with so little being accepted by the papers about Katie the person. She was such a wonderful little person.

      I have four grand-daughters, I love them all very much. One of them had autism and is no longer with us, but she brought us so much joy while she was here.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Mr. McCarron, I can\’t say how what I feel—being an autism mother, and loving our lovely Charlie—in thinking about Katie and her being gone. I cannot imagine my life without Charlie—-it is unthinkable. It was clear from the articles that I read that your son, your wife, and you were more than \”involved\” in taking care of Katie; that she was receiving the best of the best. Life with autism—-being an autism parent or an autism grandparent (as I know from my own parents)—-is too often not easy but, again, I simply cannot imagine a world without Charlie. And I continue to be baffled (and deeply angered) to see how autism and \”the stresses of living with an autistic child\” are being used as an \”excuse\” for terrible acts.

      Thank you, Ms. Brew-Parrish. I think my parents would say the same about Charlie, their only grandchild.

    • Phil Schwarz

      Mr. McCarron,

      You most definitely do *not* have your head in the sand!

      With grace that I don’t know that I’d be able to muster in similar circumstances, you have spoken out on the most important truth: that Katie was a much-loved little girl, first and foremost.

      In my tradition (Jewish), the abbreviation z”l is used to refer to someone who has passed away. It stands for the Hebrew phrase zichronah li-brachah, literally “may her memory be a blessing”. I think that is how you are asking us to think of and remember Katie.

      I am the father of an autistic son, and an Asperger’s adult myself. I will be moderating a panel at the ASA 2006 conference in Providence RI of parents like myself who are themselves on the autism spectrum.

      I am planning to close the session with a brief word about how the way we characterize and respond to autism — society at large, and the major autism organizations as well — works to the detriment of parents relating as fully and wholly to their autistic kids as they could be.

      Too many parents in the “autism community” end up engaging in what one of my panelists, the memoirist and scholar Valerie Paradiz, terms “othering” — obscuring their kids’ equal value as human beings behind labels and symptoms.

      Your love and your public statements about Katie stand in strong contrast to that. May I have your permission to say so, in the course of my remarks?

      I would also like to hear your thoughts on an alternative to wearing black armbands, in memory of Katie and of Christopher deGroot, and of other autistic children killed by their caregivers. I would like us to find something that affirms the equal value of their lives as human beings.

      And then, assuming we can find an alternative that you are comfortable with, I would like to encourage my fellow autistic self-advocates who will be at ASA 2006, and as many allies to autistic self-advocacy who are willing to join us, to participate.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Phil—-a small flower?

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      If Mr McCarron goes for it…I like the flower idea. Though I think he deserves “veto power”.

      There are even small silk flowers that come in multipacks-ribbon roses, and also little rosebuds that last I checked were attached to floral ribbon. They make embroidered daisies too, but they only come in 2 packs and I’m thinking quantity here…

      And the advantage of silk flowers/ribbon roses is that they will look nice all conference. Maybe a small flower on a bow? That requires a bit more expense and planning, but is also a more visible statement since it’s bigger.

      All this is, of course, assuming Mr McCarron likes the idea.

    • http://mikestanton.wordpress.com mike stanton

      I have been deeply moved by the discussion hear. I do not know where Mr McCarron draws his courage, strength and dignity from. He has my utmost respect.

      I applaud Phil’s ideas for the ASA conference. Whatever token of remembrance is finally chosen, I hope that it bears no resemblance to any of the symbols used by those groups who see the murder of an autistic child as a tragedy for the murderer.

    • Dad Of Cameron

      “I support the hundreds of real advocates that get up every day and try to make things better than they were the day before.”

      Dear Mr. McCarron,
      First and foremost, Thank You. You bring valuable parent and grandparent perspective. I’d just like to comment that your positive influence is such a welcome voice. There’s no doubt in my mind that a few hundred thousand children would agree – loving and accepting grandpas are the best kind.

    • Mike McCarron

      I would like to thank all of the people who post to this site. Your comments of support have been so moving, I will never be able to thank you enough.

      I would like to say something about Katie. Some newspapers have reported that this was done to end Katie’s pain; let me assure you that “Katie was not in pain”. She was a beautiful, precious and happy little girl. Each day she was showered with love and returned that love with hugs, kisses and laughter. Katie loved music; she would fill in some of the words in children’s songs as my wife would sing along with the CD that would be playing, their own version of “karaoke” . She liked to dance, she loved to do the “hooky poky”. She loved being in among flowers and tall grass. She would say “I like grass”. She enjoyed the zoo and because of all of the drills and flashcards she could identify the animals. Which I thought was pretty amazing for such a young child. She was also the only little child in her non-autistic play group that could identify an octagon. My wife and son had a party for her the day they heard that from the teacher.

      She enjoyed having her grandmother dress her in new little outfits and dresses, and I think this is important. We have four grand-daughters, my wife loves to buy them frilly little dresses. When my wife went into a store she would never ask for three normal dresses and one autistic dress. I think we need to be very sensitive to the special needs of these children but at the same time not be oblivious to the numerous typical traits that are also developing. Katie was first and foremost a little girl, she enjoyed people making a big fuss over how pretty she looked. My wife would take her to the beauty shop to have her hair trimmed. Katie enjoyed going to the mall and looking in all of the stores and windows. These are female things.

      She went to special schools everyday, the staff at those schools cherished her. I can not say enough for the staff at Mariposa. They were so very much more than professional therapists, they adopted her and loved her deeply. Katie was so lucky to be with them everyday.

      There is also another young lady in North Carolina who worked with Katie during non-school hours. The bond that she had with Katie was unbelievably deep. I am amazed that a single Mom working to raise a son by herself could find so much extra love. Maybe love is one of those special resources, the more you give the more is given back.

      Katie loved the park, the swings, the slides and being outside. She played with her dolls and toys; she loved “teletubbies” and brought joy to all of those that had actual contact with her. Yes, she was autistic. Developmentally she was behind other children. But her small victories would create unbelievable joy for those who loved her. I can not describe the ecstasy of having her little arms around my neck or of watching her and my son roll around on the floor playing in shear happiness.

      Each day I ask the Lord if I could take her place, and perhaps He could return Katie to the loving arms of my son and my wife. So far that prayer has not been granted. But in the meantime I can assure you that no one will describe her murder as “understandable” or devalue her in anyway without my personal challenge to them and the organizations they represent.

      I must apologize for the length of this post, please know that I keep each of you in my prayers.

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      Dear Mr. McCarron,

      thank you for your kind words. I am based in Chicago and will be attempting to “shift the winds” in terms of what is coming out of the advocacy community.

      I’ll be talking and emailing with some advocates and activists around Illinois over the next few days to build a strategy to try to shift the prevailing wind of media commentary. I think that means the primary targets of pressure need to be the autism “advocacy” groups, since if they face increasing criticism over their current approach, *that* will make them shift gears.

      And, in the end, that will impact the media coverage.

      I am grateful for the fact that you’re sharing with all of us. I know I cannot possibly imagine what you’re all going through right now.

      In the meantime, there are a couple of things I’d like to put out for your consideration:

      1. The picture of Katie in the Trib was beautiful. Is it possible for you to get her picture out where others could put it up? The lack of a picture of Katie may have helped “objectify” her in the public mind. There are people here who have websites and blogs – I’m sure they’d be delighted to put her picture up in a way that is respectful of Katie and your family’s wishes.

      2. I plan to work on advocates here in Illinois. I have already received a few offers of help. I’d like to make sure whatever we do is in line with what you and your family wants. If we could email or talk on the phone, that would be great. My email is sndrake at aol.com. My phone is on our website. (that offer is open to anyone else who wants to strategize as well)

      Thank you again. It’s time for me to go back to work.

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      Thought I’d let people know a few other things. The Autism Society of IL is definitely aware that many of us are unhappy with the way their legislative advocacy person has been quoted in the press – more than once. I know because the E.D. called me when I bcc’d her on a copy of the op-ed by Sheila Romano I sent out with a snarky note about the Autism Society of IL.

      Per her request, I sent her the NY Times Op-ed from last week, the Dick Sobsey essay on on why we shouldn’t defend the killing of kids with disabilities (feel free to grab and copy it for your own sites – Dick meant it for free distribution, we don’t have exclusive rights to it), and a link to Amanda Bagg’s “If I get killed…”

      Nothing much has changed on that site and it probably won’t unless they get more criticism than they have been getting.

      BTW, I sent a followup to the editor of the Trib, Bruce Dold, when he emailed me saying he’d share my email with the editorial board and the public editor. Here’s part of it:

      (After first thanking him for the reply)

      “I suspect that the Autism Society of Illinois is probably a lot happier with your
      coverage than Mike McCarron is. Generally, newspapers are concerned when
      the family of an alleged murder is disgusted with coverage. Apparently, exceptions
      are made when the victim is disabled.

      Like I said, though, you’re not the worst.

      Peoria Columnist Phil Luciano had a column about Karen McCarron titled
      “She helped everyone but herself” – Katie must not count as part of “everyone.”

      The Springfield paper said Karen McCarron was charged with murder in
      “the alleged mercy killing” of her daughter. Until the Springfield/Copley
      news article did that, NO ONE alleged Katie’s death was a “mercy killing.”

      This has not been a great moment in Illinois journalism by a long shot.”

    • Tanya

      Mr. McCarron,

      My heart is truly heavy for your family’s loss. I cannot even begin to imagine the intensity of the emotions you are enduring right now.

      And somehow, through this unforgivable, incomprehensible tragedy, I can’t help but feel selfishly grateful. Grateful that YOU were Katie’s grandfather. Grateful to know that during Katie’s short life, she was loved and treasured. Grateful that Katie’s value, spirit and beauty will live on through your voice. That somehow, if anything “good” can come from the loss of innocent little Katie, it will be that the world will be able to see her through your eyes and your heart.

      Thank you for loving Katie so faithfully during her life here on Earth. And thank you for continuing to show your love for her by shouting out: “Katie was so much more than autistic! Katie was a beautiful, joyous CHILD whose life was a GIFT. Katie was WANTED!”

      God bless you and your family.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      I like the idea of flowers, of bright colors; symbols of hope and joy.

      Katie will not, for sure, be forgotten.

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      “At the same
      time to ignore the societal failures in reference to people with
      disabilities and the stresses families face is to simply have one’s head in
      the sand.”

      As I have been saying since the beginning of time:
      ALL Y’ALL AREN’T THAT EASY TO LIVE WITH EITHER. You can read more about EXACTLY what I think about this baloney about the stresses on the family over on MY blog, rettdevil.blogspot.com. You’re going to need to look through the archives, but it’s there, around the time that the NYT ran articles about poor poor devastated siblings. The people who REALLY have their heads in the sand are those who think that being the family member with a disability is any easier than being one of many without.
      Seriously. Check out the entry. Notice in particular the list of things my siblings did that I never would have dreamed of doing to them.

      I can’t believe I missed that the first read through. I think, perhaps, that you owe a few people an apology, Mr Tetto. Think on that for a while.

      (apologies to Kristina, things like this raise my hackles. Whatever a hackle is…)

    • http://mikestanton.wordpress.com mike stanton

      Mr McCarron,
      you graciously wrote
      “I would like to thank all of the people who post to this site. Your comments of support have been so moving, I will never be able to thank you enough.”

      Sir, the gratitude is all ours. Your words have strengthened us. And your description of Katie is so delightful. It should be preserved as a memorial to her and a testimony to your love.

      And thank you, Kristina, for creating this opportunity to bring people together, united in grief and anger and determined to create a world in which it will no longer be possible to jusify the murder of autistic people for the crime of being different.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Thank you, Mike, and everyone for your many comments here—–it has got me thinking more than a lot——-

      And Mr McCarron, your description of Katie and all that she did and all that she loved to do is beautiful. We often do that kind of “karaoke” you describe with Charlie—he is a music lover. As she was, and as the memories of her are, too.

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      Kristina and all,

      First, a heads up.

      Mr. McCarron sent me pictures of Katie this morning. Hopefully, they’ll be up on our website within a couple hours. (I’ll also be emailing the pictures to several of you as soon as I finish this post so you don’t have to wait to download them from my own site.)

      Everyone here will be using these pictures (3 of them) in the ways that Mr. McCarron wishes. We might do some edits on this (my webmaster is also a great editor), but I composed this to go along with the pictures on the website:

      “”The McCarron family invites people who want to keep Katie’s memory alive to download these images and post them on their own websites and blogs. They (and we)only ask they be used in remembering Katie as a beautiful, precious
      and happy little girl. They do not approve of the use of these pictures as part of a message suggesting in any way that she was in pain or that she was a burden. They also don’t want them used in any that suggests her death in any way is associated with a “problem” with lack of services. Using Katie’s pictures in these ways would be an insult to Katie’s memory and cause more pain to an already grieving family.”

      It’s not legally enforceable, but hopefully will discourage *misuse* of the pictures of Katie.

      I don’t know much about how web “rings” are created or who does that. But maybe we could look at a “Katie McCarron remembrance” webring or something like that?

      Enough for now. I’ll post later when the pictures are up.

      And some of you – the ones I have email for – will get pictures soon. I’ll send them individually so you don’t have to deal with the zip file.


    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Thanks, Stephen!

      I post photos of Charlie at Autismland with that very intent—-to show how “precious and beautiful” my autistic boy is.

    • http://thefamilyvoyage.blogspot.com/ Sharon

      I’ve just been reading through the comments here and I’m so glad to read a little about sweet Katie and to know she was so well loved and cared for by her grandparents and father. Thank you, Mr McCarron for telling us about her. It sounds like she enjoyed lots of the same things as my son. My heart goes out to you all, in this terrible time of pain and loss.

      I have not seen her photo yet and would love to see one. When I think about her, I have pictured a beautiful, perfect rosebud to represent her.

    • http://www.kevinleitch.co.uk Kev

      Stephen – if you want to take the idea of a web ring forward, please contact me kevleitch@gmail.com and I’d be happy to work with you on this, with Mike’s blessing naturally.

    • Sue Swenson

      We have so much work to do together to ensure that the human rights of every child and adult with disabilities are protected. Thanks to Steve for your efforts and to Mr. McCarron for your lucid reasoning. We must not give up. Can we turn our personal outrage into political action? Two opportunities come to mind: The US still needs to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and then, we must ratify the convention on the rights of persons with disabiltiies (when this is finalized). I believe the US and Somalia are the only nations not signing the Rights of the Child at this time. Clearly, signing is not magic (there are certainly nations who signed with no expectation of complying): but it would be a start.

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      She’s beautiful.

      I just learned HTML. I think my first effort (well, 2nd, but the first had a lot of help) will be to set up a memorial page for Katie on my site.

      Such a tragic loss. This is the REAL tragedy…

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      Kristina said:

      I post photos of Charlie at Autismland with that very intent—-to show how “precious and beautiful” my autistic boy is.

      Kristina. I know. I’ve been reading some of the entries on your blog and that of a few other select parents. Being here in Illinois where we suddenly seem to have an overabundance of “parent advocates from hell,” I’m finding them very therapeutic in terms of my uglier emotions right now. For what it’s worth, this nonparent finds what you are writing very helpful right now.

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      Finally. We have the pictures up! Links to coverage and blogs, too. It’s the top item on the front page of the site, but here’s the direct URL for the pictures:


      Kristina and Kevin already had photos up, I am thrilled to say. :-)

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      I’m working on getting them up too. But my html is sloooooowww.

      Mr McCarron, thank you for your words and the photos. She was a beautiful girl. With your permission, at the workshop ASA has for autistic people we’d like to make a powerpoint slide of Katie to put up for a moment in rememberance. I talked to someone about that this morning, and he thought it was a fabulous idea.

    • Mike McCarron

      Thank you all for your reception of Katie’s pictures. Please feel free to use them along the lines suggested by Stephen Drake.

      All Children are beautiful, encourage people to realize what special gifts they are.

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      Mr McCarron, thank you for your words. They’re beautiful, just as Katie is. You knew her and I don’t feel I can do her justice the way you did.

      Because of this I quoted you (well, am in the process of quoting you, I’m SLOOOOOWWW at this web stuff) on the page in memory of Katie that I am making. It will be up at http://www.rettdevil.com/katiemccarron.html sometime tonight or very early tomorrow morning.

      Please look, see to it that I am using your words and Katie’s image appropriately, and if I am not let me know how to fix it. again, my email address is kassiane (at) rettdevil (dot) com.

      I don’t want to use your words incorrectly. So drop me a line if anything, from the color to the picture to the quotes, is incorrect.

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      OK, I was mistaken.

      Coding doesn’t like me. At all. It’ll be up later today (Tuesday). I DID get my email address correct.

    • http://www.rettdevil.com Kassiane

      And now I’m a blog-hog.

      With some help from Kev, my page in Katie’s memory is up. it’s http://www.rettdevil.com/katiemccarron.html .

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      You can hog space here anytime, Kassiane! Stephen, thanks for your very kinds words about reading about Charlie—-it has been a great thing for me to share his story this past year.

      And thanks again to Mr. McCarron, most of all.

    • Mike McCarron

      Thank all of you for being you.

      I am amazed at the amount of love that all of you are able to convey over the internet. Thanks to people like Kristina Chew and Kevin Leitch and all of the others who have invested their energies in providing facilities for sharing. What a wonderful gift that is.

      During my darkest days, immediately after Katie’s funeral, I was unbelievably empty. I could have very easily been consumed by bitterness and hatred. I happened upon Kevin’s film about his daughter Megan. I watched it over and over, and thought here is a family that loves the way mine does. I started to communicate with him, directly not over a “blog”. He was wonderful to me and will always be very much a part of my life.

      I am amazed when I think back upon sitting totally broken in the middle of Indiana, frustrated by events and comments coming from Illinois, drawing strength from a family in the UK.

      Then when I finally worked up the strength to post something, I met all of you. I send each of you a great big Katie hug. No matter how emotionally draining things are and even if I don’t have the strength to post something I gain peace by just being here with you.

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    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Mr. McCarron, it is an honor to have gotten to know you—–I can’t say how much I appreciate the lovely details of Katie that you have shared with us. Her beauty and the joy and love that surrounded her are evident in your every word.

      And Kevin, and all who have commented here, I am also honored to have gotten to know you!

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      I cannot tell you how much I have gained from all of you here. Today, I read Amanda’s blog and was struck with how deep-rooted these issues are. She quoted some posts from a discussion from bit.listserv.autism about the death of Charles Antoine-Blais. This was almost ten years ago.

      I posted on that thread. I was also sitting in the office at the Blackmore home when Avi Blackmore, a young man with Asperger’s, summed up the postings of some parents wanting to use the murder of Charles Antoine-Blais to lobby for services as “Give us money or we’ll kill our kids.” Back in Syracuse, the Blackmore household was my “adopted home” and for years I was there for most shabbat meals – and more.

      It’s tempting to think some things never change. But they do change. Things are better this time around. There are more voices raised in protest this time. And it’s wonderful that so many of those voices belong to parents (and grandparents).

      I’ve alerted our webmaster to add links to blogs on our picture page. The list I have for today are the following:

      Katie McCarron – by Kevin Leitch

      Katie McCarron, Charles-Antoine Blais, real children, real people.

      Speaking Truth to Power – by ABFH

      If there are others, please let us all know.

      I’ll also be emailing out a list of the URLs to these blogs to several hundred people in Illinois and others interested around the country later today.


    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Thanks for the links—for your hard work—-for helping us all make a difference.

    • http://www.notdeadyet.org Stephen Drake

      There are three letters to the editor today in the Chicago Tribune about the story they did on Katie’s death. Two are are pretty good and the third is a mixed bag. I’ll put the text below along with the URL, but if anyone has the time or energy, there is a blog for comments on each letter at the URL. If you’re so inclined, it might be a good idea to get some of your thoughts and perspectives out there to an Illinois/Chicago readership. –Stephen

      June 15, 2006
      Special-needs children

      As a parent of three boys, one with Asperger’s (a form of autism) and one with Down syndrome, I can relate to the frustration that Karen McCarron felt. It is a painful thing to see your child struggle. It is also painful to know that these issues cannot be cured, only coped with. That said, what did McCarron think parenting was about? That it was only worthwhile if the children were perfect? Is she perfect? I watch my sons cope day in and day out with being different and it hurts-but we are all stronger because of it. My youngest son (who is gifted, but without any “issues”) will grow up to be an empathetic person. My other sons will grow up to know that they are loved not in spite of their abilities/disabilities but, in part, because of them, for without them, they wouldn’t be the same children. My husband and I have a stronger marriage because of the challenges we have endured.

      Do special-education programs need more funding? Absolutely. Do more services need to be put into place to help families like the McCarrons? Of course.

      But it sounds to me like Karen McCarron had many services available to her and much support from family. The issue is not the level of services she received. The issue is that Karen McCarron couldn’t cope with having a child who needed those services. That is the tragedy.

      Amy Dietrich Hernandez
      Rolling Meadows
      Dealing with autism

      I’m a single parent of two autistic children and can definitely relate to Karen McCarron’s stress involved in dealing with an autistic child.

      There are two things that disturb me about this article.

      First, when does a person’s education have anything to do with knowing how to deal with stress? The article states that some people wonder how Karen McCarron went from a respected doctor to a murder suspect. A person’s education and status in life does not make him or her exempt from committing crimes.

      Second, some people may think that the child’s death may further the agenda of expanding services. So what? While it’s unfortunate that this happened, intensive care is needed on behalf of the child as well as the parent. How many more deaths have to happen in order to get things moving?

      Sabrina Nixon
      Understanding those with autism

      This is regarding “Daughter’s murder puts focus on toll of autism” (Page 1, June 9).

      Ten to 15 years ago, it was the trend in the autism community to refer to our children as “children with autism” or my “son with autism,” not my “autistic son” or our “autistic children.”

      The thought was we would not think of our children as their disability but as people, who happened to have this disability.

      I read with interest this story about the physician/mother who allegedly murdered her daughter.

      Your reporter referred to the child as her “autistic daughter.”

      The child was murdered, whether she had autism or not. It seems to be forgotten that this was a child, a little girl, and she died in a horrific way.

      She was more than her disability, as her grandfather speaks to in the article.

      I am the parent of a young man with autism and the spouse of a physician, the father of my son. We have spoken about this crime often in our home since this news broke in the autism community several weeks ago.

      We feel that the real dilemma brought to light by this horrible act of violence is the lack of understanding and the hopelessness, even in the autism community itself.

      Autism is a lifelong disability. As much as we would like to have a real cure, there is none. Life can be good, productive and happy, even for someone on the lower end of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

      We need more services in this state, but we also need understanding of those with autism and their families, even within our community itself.

      Young parents of those with autism need to see older children and adults with autism living in our society and know that their lives are worthy and can be productive, cured or not.

      Our son has enriched our lives in more ways than can be imagined.

      It is not the end of the world but the beginning of another.

      Marie Grass Amenta

      Past president

      Chicago/South Suburban Chapter of the Autism Society of America

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      I’m quoting from one of the letters in a new post and will leave a message on the blog URL you left—–

    • Someone Who Cares

      Mr. McCarron.

      I don’t know you….just of you. I have prayed for you many nights. My prayer for you, however, is for forgiveness, for God to soften your heart.

      Your wife had been mentally ill (ie suicidal) for months before this happened. She did not recieve proper medical care. If she had…perhaps she would not have snapped. A mind is a fragile thing, she just lost it.

      God can heal your marriage. He can heal your heart. I continue to pray for your family, as I do Karen and hers daily

      Someone Who Cares

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    • Athena Ivan

      As an autistic person, reading about Katie made me upset. (I’m not the best with words when writing about something very emotional to me, in a short time). Even if I wasn’t autistic I’d be thoroughly disgusted with what befell her. Dr. Chew, I am glad for Charlie’s sake that you are his mother.

      Someone Who Cares: fragile or not, that is still NOT AN EXCUSE FOR MURDER! For all we know she could have not made an effort to seek proper help. A lot of doctors deny their own health issues.

      Mr. McCarron: God bless you and your family. I know this is repetitive of others but my own words are chasing each other in my mind at high speeds, so I can’t bring them out.

      I feel there should be some sort of Safety Network in place….kinda like CPS but specifically for disabled children….to act on suspicion of a disabled child being abused, so it’s stopped before the child’s life gets to be in danger.


    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      AI, thanks so much for your words. As an autism mother, reading about Katie also makes me feel upset. I second your suggestion of a Safety Network——and then there’s the comments by Thierry about the Autism Every Day video.

      I really do not understand how anyone can say such things, let alone do them.

    • Athena Ivan

      what were her comments about it?

      I just had an idea. Charlie is a bit young if I remember correctly, but do you know any older children with autism? Perhaps you and them and their parents can craft a letter to whomever authorized the production of this film? (sorry brain is almost on empty in terms of thought fuel, it’s 1:30 am and I don’t want to forget this idea of mine) telling the person (Thierry?) about your/their feelings about the video (their meaning children and other parents)

      Not sure if that’s a good idea or not. But somehow the people in that video, those mothers, have to be told, especially the mother of Jodie and Lauren, that what she/they said was very upsetting. Maybe that would help them think differently, or am I being too idealistic? I wouldn’t know, but I would trust the opinions of Dr. Chew and Mr. Kev and Mr. McCarron and others who have posted here also.


    • http://comautworld.blogspot.com Jannalou

      I know plenty of older kids with autism. A few 11yo boys, a 14yo girl, a 12yo boy, an 11yo girl… and more, I’m sure, if I thought really hard about it.

      Of course, they’re all Canadian…

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Have you known these kids for a while, Jannalou—-seen them grow? (Canadian, American, ASD knows no national boundaries….)

      Some of us parents—–like Mom-NOS and myself here have responded on our blogs. I feel like we are so many needles in the haystack, though, but I guess I hope that if we keep speaking up as we have too, The Powers That Be will not be able to avoid hearing us. (Yes, I am optimistic.)

    • http://comautworld.blogspot.com Jannalou

      I’ve known the 11yo girl since she was 7 (she’ll be 12 in September); the 11yo boys I’ve known since they were 9 and 10 (they’ll be 12 in November and February, respectively). The 12yo boy I’ve known since he was 10, and the 13yo girl I’ve known for about a year.

    • Athena Ivan

      Dr. Chew:
      Dr. Chew:
      I meant more of a response directly to the mothers who were featured in that film. Is there any way to send something directly addressed to them? Especially the mother of Jodie.

      Jannalou: how do those kids feel about their autism? I am thinking perhaps with their parents’ permission and their own consent, you could create your own film project, as a counter-reaction to the Autism Every Day film. This is just an idea I had 2 minutes ago, literally, when I was reading your message. What do people think of this idea? I’m trying to figure out what things are practical and what are not. I’m not sure how this project would be done, but it shouldn’t be directly portrayed as a combative reaction against the AED (Thierry) film. I like to read what others have to say about this idea.


    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Alison Tepper Singer—who made the comment about driving herself and her daughter off the bridge—-is a Senior Vice President for Autism Speaks with contact information here. Mom-NOS’s compelling post on alternate view of Autism Every Day appeals to Lauren Thierry, the autism mother who made the film, to come into her own house for the “sequel.”

    • Athena Ivan

      thank you, Dr. Chew, for that contact information. Would it be too forward of me to ask for some assistance in constructing an email to Ms. Singer? It’s gonna take me a while to get stuff out so I won’t be ready for a while yet. I will draft it in my own blog, as a draft, and then I’ll figure out where to send it to be reviewed before sending it. Or should I even do that? I’m not sure…but thanks for that contact information.


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    • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/autieparents/ Lisa Jean Collns

      I created this design today in memory of Katie. It is the one of her in a field of grass. Her quote is above her, and her picture is placed on a page from the calendar, May 2006.

      I was inspired to do this design after reading thorugh all of these wonderful posts, especially after reading yours, Mr. McCarron. Saying “you are an inspiration” just doesn’t even come close to how I am feeling right now, but I can’t put what I’m trying to say into words that do not sound scripted.

      Here is the link to the design (completely nonprofit):


    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      AI, I\’d be glad to read a letter you draft. My is autismland AT gmail DOT com—-

      Lisa, thank you. Don\’t mean to intrude here but have you contacted the McCarron family about using Katie\’s image?—-if you have, please disregard this comment!

    • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/autieparents/ Lisa Jean Collins

      Letter to the Editor writer Sabrina Nixon wants to know:

      “How many more deaths have to happen in order to get things moving?”

      This sounds like a threat.



      You are more than welcome. Your efforts and Kev’s have lit a fire under me about this terrible tragedy. Now I’m learning about even more recent news stories, other deaths of autistic people. The stories are piling up so fast that I can’t even deal with the enormity of it. So far and at this moment, I am only able to let the death of Katie McCarron soak into me. Maybe soon I will be able to broaden my focus to the other stories.

      I hope that Mr. McCarron will return and see the design I made in Katie’s memory. If not, please let him know about them, if you can. Thanks.

    • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/autieparents/ Lisa Jean Collins

      Hi Kristina,

      If I could contact them I would. I have been trying to find a way to contact them but came up with nothing.

      I created the design operating on this principle:

      ““”The McCarron family invites people who want to keep Katie’s memory alive to download these images and post them on their own websites and blogs. They (and we)only ask they be used in remembering Katie as a beautiful, precious
      and happy little girl. They do not approve of the use of these pictures as part of a message suggesting in any way that she was in pain or that she was a burden. They also don’t want them used in any that suggests her death in any way is associated with a “problem” with lack of services. Using Katie’s pictures in these ways would be an insult to Katie’s memory and cause more pain to an already grieving family.”

      It’s not legally enforceable, but hopefully will discourage *misuse* of the pictures of Katie.”

      Secondly, I created the design because there was some interest in finding a way to publically display something that would show that she was remembered. An arm band was suggested. So I decided to take the image, which was already granted for appropriate use, and put it on articles while at the same time setting it so that I would not receive a single penny. There is a way to set it on Cafepress so that you will receive a 0% markup. I set all the products to “0% markup” so that way I benefit in no personal way from the sale of any product.

      If I can be any clearer, please let me know. If you are in contact with Mr. McCarron, please by all means give him my contact information so that I can be sure that the shirts meet with his approval. Thanks.

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    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Lisa, My apologies for not responding earlier. I’ll mention the CafePress design to Katherine’s grandfather—–just always trying to think of what is best.

      Thanks and thanks!

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    • Heather

      This just angers me to no end. I am an adult with Aspergers and this kind of intolerance is acceptable among certain groups. Autism Speaks and Cure Autism now advocate eugenics against autistic people. Can you imagine if Katie had never been born? THAT is what these groups support.

      We must take a stand against these murderers!

    • momof2boyswithautism

      I have 2 sons with autism, one relatively high functioning. Patience is at a premium in my house. Have I ever thought of killing my children? Absolutely not, there is no excuse for this behavior! The fact that this sweet little girl had autism, does not at all justify or explain this hideous murder. Poor sweet girl. Probably thinking in her mind, why is “momma trying to hurt me?” If I were the judge/jury I would post pictures of this little girl up all around the jail cell.

    • Andrea

      Mr. McCarron, Sir ~ I cannot express how sorry I am for the loss of your grandchild. To have such a young, beloved grandchild, needlesslly stolen from your life must have been unbearable. I hope that I am not adding to your pain by mentioning your loss, yet again.

      For your grandaughter’s life to be taken, and then for you to hear such horrible things by this Autism group is impermissible. I cannot image the depth of pain that it has caused.

      Thank-you for standing up, and speaking about your beloved grandchild. It takes people like you to force other’s to change, and I applaud you for your strength.

      If it were not for you, I would never have even known about this heinous, abominable, evil murder. It saddens me that it wasn’t on my local news, a year ago. Makes me want to cry that I didn’t know about your grandaughter until today.

      May your family continue the fight for people to accept people with autism as people first. I’ll be praying to the Goddess that you have the continued comfort that you need to allow your heart to heal from this deep, abiding wound. Thank-you for sharing yor soul. Thank-you for allowing us to see your grandaughter as she was, not as her murderer would try to make her be. Thank-you in short for coming forward.

    • larry

      Who says there are no refrigerator moms. It turns out that they are legion:


    • Angie

      On NOT one of her Mermorial Sites does it post her DOB Does anyone know what her Birthday was??? Just Month and Date Year optional

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      July 22, 2002, is her birthday.

    • Angie

      Thank you Dr. Chew, I don’t know if it has any bearing but I have noticed that a lot of Autistic children seem to be born in the spring/summer months I also recently heard that DNA (too much, too little) has a bearing on whether or not a child will be born with Autisum. My son was just recently diagnosied with Autisum about 3 years ago. I had the feeling he had it from birth and the Doctors he had been seeing at a young age 2 to 3yrs old that he was ADHD and NOT at all Autistic, but I kept seeing patterns the way he would stack and line toys up and his slight but constant swaying back and forth (Dr. told me he was hyper that’s why he swayed) He only really likes to socialize with YOUNGER children, his outbursts when he though he did something wrong, even his clothing had to be a certain fabric or he couldn’t tollerate even having them on. Now we have a very good pshycologist and a Parent of Autistic children’s work group I attened, but I travel 2 hours to the closest Dr. for his condition, I have been doing this for 7years and will continue to do it in the hopes that he can be a productive adult with autisum in the future. I don’t see his condition as a death sentance or limiting his abilities permenantly or actually at all.When he was diagnosied my Mother cried and I didn’t. She saw it as a horrible condition I saw it as a challange but with possibilities, and most autistic children have an up side to the condition, he has a VERY creative side I was NOT an artist at all only stick people but my son can make something out of nothing on paper, I was normal actually I had a very high IQ at an early age, but I could NEVER draw like he can. So it is give and take. I love his abilities and I see progress and regression on all levels I just try to keep thing constant and routine and if something happens we start to work on the solutions together I like to include him even if he dosen’t grasp it I just don’t want him to think I saw him as different I see him as my baby boy nothing else. I also have a full functioning child too age 2, and Justin age 10 (my son) adores his sister he would NEVER let anyone hurt her and he plays with her even when he wants to do other things to help me out. He is a blessing and it’s an honor to call him my son, he is very compassionate and if that is all I could say about him (but it is not) I would be glad to have raised such a loving child. When I read Katie’s story after seeing her mother on trial these past few days I became heart broken for Her Father and Grandparents. I too live in NC and in the CITY their are lots of resources, but I live near the coast and have to travel to a quality care facility, I am also a single mother I spend almost every waking minute taking care of my babies (other then the 9hrs. @ work) I couldn’t imagine living life without them let alone taking one of their lives to make mine easier that to me would be a waste, all the time and energy invested and the simple fact that I adore them, this is my legacy this is what will remain and live on in my name and that to me is reward enough. My deepest condolances to her Family members especially her Daddy and Grandpa, you can tell from Katie’s pictures she knew she was loved even if her Mommy failed her I agree there is NO excuse in ending a childs life None what so ever. Sincerely, Angie

    • http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=momto2miracles Momto2miracles

      Mr McCarron,
      I am weeping as I read what you have written about your beautiful granddaughter.I can not begin to imagine the pain you, your wife and son are enduring. Thank you so much for sharing some of Katie’s light with us. It is so important that everyone understand what a beautiful, loving and happy child she was.

      As the wife of an autistic and the mother of two amazing autistic little , I can’t begin to tell you how much Katie’s story has touched our family. I can not commrehend how anyone can harn a child. My children are my world and everyday I thank god for them. I know that you, your wife and son felt this way for Katie. My prayers are with you, and Now that many of us are telling katie’s story. Her beautiful smile lives on in all of our hearts!