On the fifth day of her trial, former pathologist Karen McCarron testified that she blamed herself for her daughter’s autism. WEEK reports that
……..McCarron told her defense attorney that she felt responsible for Katie’s autism because she allowed her the child [sic] to get vaccinated.
Prosecutor Kevin Johnson took out a white plastic garbage bag similar to the bag that McCarron used to suffocate her daughter, Katherine “Katie” McCarron:
Using his fist as the little girl’s head, he had McCarron demonstrate how she killed the child.
When Johnson asked McCarron how long she held the bag over Katie’s head, McCarron replied for about two minutes until she stopped struggling and defecated on herself.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Katie died one to four minutes after her oxygen supply was cut off, according to forensic pathologist Violette Hnilica, who performed the autopsy on the child’s body.
Harms testified that in the early morning hours of May 14, 2006, the Morton Police Department contacted her in regard to investigating two areas suspected to be part of a murder scene.
Harms said she first arrived at the McCarron house, located at 390 E. Idlewood Drive, in Morton. While at the home, she began investigating the scene with fellow investigator Sgt. Michael Oyer.
During the investigation of McCarron’s home, where Katie was found dead, Harms said that a Bible was found on the floor of the master bathroom upstairs.
The bathroom is where McCarron’s husband, Paul, found Karen McCarron sitting on the floor shortly after attempting to comment suicide the same night she killed Katie.
Inside the Bible, Harms found a hand-written note from Karen McCarron, believed to have been written at the time the attempted suicide took place.
However, the contents of the letter were not released to the court.
Also found on the bathroom counter were several pills, later identified as Tylenol.
The two investigators then went to the home of McCarron’s mother, Erna Frank, where Katie was killed. Frank’s house is located just a few blocks away from the McCarron home. However, no physical evidence was found.
On May 15, Oyer was called to a local gas station where police believed McCarron hid the trash bag she used to kill Katie.
After searching through garbage in a large trash bin at the gas station, investigators found a white kitchen trash bag that met the description given by McCarron during a confession.
Ann Midden, an Illinois State Police crime lab technician, testified that she received the white trash bag at the Illinois State Police Crime Lab where it was analyzed for evidence.
According to Midden, a DNA substance was retrieved after she noticed possible teeth marks on the inside of the bag.
Illinois State Police forensic scientist Debra Minton testified she received the DNA from Midden in order to analyze the substance.
After receiving a DNA sample from Katie’s body, Minton was able to conclude that the DNA found in the trash bag matched Katie’s.
When asked how sure she was the DNA was a match, Minton said that only 1 in 1.6 quadrillion people could have that type of DNA and that that one person was Katie.
While fingerprinting the bag, crime lab technician Robert Renea said he was also able to retrieve a palm print that was ultimately matched to Karen McCarron’s. The palm print was found on the outside of the bag.
Earlier in the day, the court heard testimony from McCarron’s mother-in-law, Gail McCarron – Katie’s paternal grandmother.
Gail testified she first met Karen McCarron nearly 20 years ago after her son, Paul, began dating McCarron in college.
â€śWe loved Karen very much. It was nice to have another female around the house,â€ť Gail said.
Shortly after Katie was diagnosed with autism in late 2003, Paul and Gail moved with Katie to North Carolina in order for Katie to attend a special school for children with autism. The three lived there for nearly two years.
Karen McCarron and her younger daughter, Emily, stayed in Morton so McCarron could continue working as a pathologist. She would fly to North Carolina regularly to visit.
Gail said at one point, after the three moved back to Morton, McCarron asked her what she thought about institutionalizing Katie.
Gail responded to her by saying, â€śKaren, please don’t do that. I would take care of her.â€ť
Gail McCarron said Karen McCarron became very detached from Katie in the months leading up to the child’s May 13, 2006, death.