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Mother killed 22-year-old autistic son, then herself

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posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 05:34 PM
A Sunnyvale, California mother shot and killed her 22 year old non-verbal autistic son, and then turned the gun on herself. This story comes courtesy of the Oakland Tribune:

A Sunnyvale mother shot and killed her 22-year-old autistic son in his bedroom, then turned the gun on herself, according to police. Department of Public Safety Capt. Dave Verbrugge said Wednesday that the pair were found about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday in a home in the 800 block of Nectarine Ave. He did not disclose their names or a possible motive. Public records show that Elizabeth Hodgins, 53, lives at 813 Nectarine Ave., with a 22-year-old, George Hodgins. A 51-year-old man also lives at the home; police say the husband was not home at the time.

Neighbors confirmed the names of the mother and son. Jennifer Sullivan, executive director of the Morgan Autism Center, said George attended the San Jose center for most of his life, starting when he was six years old. "He was delightful," she said. "He was non-verbal, but very physically active. He loved walking and hiking." Sullivan said that George could not talk and used a voice-output communication device for limited communication. He did not drive and "constantly was working on his independent living skills," she said. "He needed to be supervised at all times for his own safety.'' Neighbors often saw George mowing the lawn with his father, his dad's hands over his.

George stopped attending the autism center in December. Sullivan said it was because Elizabeth Hodgins told her that she wanted to find a program that was more community-oriented, where her son could be out in the world. But one neighbor said that Hodgins told her several times in the last few months that her son was getting increasingly harder to handle, and that she couldn't find a new program to take him. "She just couldn't do it any more -- take care of him anymore''' said Jacquie Jauch. "She was just tired and very lonely." Jauch said that Hodgins pleaded with her: "Please help me find a program. I need somewhere to put him. I need a rest."

Sullivan described Elizabeth Hodgins as a woman who "adored her son. They were very close." There were no obvious problems that Sullivan knew about between mother and son. But in general, she said that many parents with autistic children are "very close to that line of going over the edge." Having a child with autism, Sullivan said, can be very "isolating. You're on 24 hours a day. There is no respite. It's ongoing, and once your children become adults, you continually wonder, 'Who will take care of my child when I die?' " Tracy May, a mother with a special needs child who lives a few blocks down from the Hodgins, came to place flowers at the family's home Wednesday, adding to a growing memorial. "It is a very big strain to raise a child with special needs," May said. "You have to have support. You don't know what causes this to happen. A lot falls on the mom." When told that Hodgins was having a hard time finding a new program, Sullivan was upset: "I wish we would have known. He could have come back here. We loved George."

I posted this story because I worked with families who had autistic members for years, and I can attest to the difficulty of handling these children. It is a full-time, 24/7 job, and most parents burn out on it. Many of these autistic individuals cannot speak, and many cannot even use the bathroom by themselves, even as adults. When they are smaller, there is school and other programs that can give the parents a break, but once they get to be adults (at least, according to the calendar), the resources for giving these parents respite dry up.

As communities struggle to provide basic services, expect even more cutbacks for programs that assist those with mental retardation and autism. Yet the autism rate is skyrocketing.

Imagine how difficult it is to deal with a non-verbal, non-toilet trained autistic child. They are usually hyperactive, have no fear of dangers, and have to be watched constantly. The entire family's activities revolve around these children, leaving the neurotypical children ignored and resentful. Even a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a nightmare as the autistic child has a meltdown because the bright lights, noise and stimulation are too much for their sensitive nervous system to handle. Most have to be put on a harness or they will bolt and run away, often into traffic or other dangers.

Now imagine that same behavior in a grown, full-sized 22 year old man, still bolting into traffic, still having meltdowns of epic proportions, and still not able to use the bathroom unassisted. Most parents become exhausted, isolated, depressed, and desperate.

I understand exactly why this mother did what she did, although my heart grieves for her and what she went through. There are thousands of these sons (and daughters) and mothers, hidden away, depressed, and desperate for some respite for their burden. Try getting a babysitter for a grown man like this, it is almost impossible. These individuals will never be able to live independently, although that is the dream of every parent of an autistic child.

I pray that there will be a time when we stop spending our tax dollars on war and killing, and put more of that money towards helping those families who have these children. All they need is a night out, some time to destress and decompress from the constant care-giving, struggle and worry. I used to be in charge of a respite program for these families, until the budget was cut. At the time the budget was cut to zero, I had a waiting list of families that ran into the hundreds, and that was just for one county. The outcry from the parents was ignored, and remains unheard.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 05:46 PM
Ive heard parents in the uk say they will do this when the time comes. They say it because they know what will happen to their children when they die. They will be pumped full of chemicals locked up and probably abused.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 05:49 PM
reply to post by VoidHawk

Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens. They are over-medicated because they are easier to deal with if they sit in a corner in a diaper and drool. The state schools are full of them. It is a hidden epidemic which is fixing to explode as time goes on.

I have my own theory as to why there are so many autistic children today, but I will save that for a different thread in a different forum.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 05:58 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus


posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:02 PM
Absolutely discussing. She could have just taken her self, I guess she was thinking about him walking in on her dead body? Makes it even more selfish, kill your son because you do not want to be the one that causes him pain. She should have prepared, she had 22 years to come with a plan.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:04 PM
reply to post by el1jah

Yes. Vaccination appears to be the "smoking gun" in these cases, because their medical records show that they were normal babies until their toddler shots. I have seen hundreds of medical records for these children, and it is one of the questions the diagnosing physician asks. It appears to be neurological damage from a neurotoxin.

Please note that I do not include Asperger's Syndrome, which is hereditary.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:04 PM
What a senseless tragedy.

This family needed help. Our society let them down. We will spend billions fighting wars but we ignore our own who need services.

Perhaps this tragedy will be a catalyst for change.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:05 PM
Somwhere I read that the autism rate in korea is now 1 in 3.
I think there's a couple of reasons for autism but the main suspect must surely be vaccinations.
Everyone should watch this vid.

Dr Wakefield is the doctor who was struck off when he dared to suggest that untill more research was done the multiple vaccine should be withdrawn.
If you watch the video you'll hear the story the media didnt tell you. Like how the British government KNEW the vaccine was bad.
If your in the uk PLEASE watch it and tell your friends to watch it too, especialy those with young children.
edit on 7-3-2012 by VoidHawk because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:11 PM
reply to post by Infi8nity

That is true, but many parents of these children seem to believe that, if their kids are given the right sort of instruction and training, they can live on their own. The sad truth is, this is an impossibility. No mother wants to face the fact that their child will never be independent and always require 24 hour care. I think that, sometimes, these children seem like there is a blockage in their brain, and perhaps by some miracle, it will be removed.

Some of the autistics higher up on the spectrum do indeed have that veil removed and suddenly become independent, but for the vast majority, there is no hope for independence. Ever. Perhaps it was this realization that caused her to kill her son, because she didn't want him placed in a state school.

If you're not familiar with state schools, they can be horrific places. The employees are paid poorly, they are not required to be educated, and often times things get out of control, or even, the employees start to do things that they think they can get away with, because nobody will tell on them. Sexual abuse, drug abuse, physical abuse, torture, and neglect are a few of the things I know for a fact happen in the state schools of Texas. We only hear a few stories about this. I have known employees who worked there, and the stories they tell are beyond disgusting. Animals in shelters are treated better.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:16 PM
reply to post by smyleegrl

Perhaps. But more likely, this mother and her son will be buried and people will forget and go about the business of arguing why we need to invade Iran. I'm not sure what it will take to get our government to give more priority to helping our own.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:24 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

By posting on this topic, you've informed others about what happened. Maybe it will make no difference in the scheme of things, but maybe it will.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:32 PM
reply to post by VoidHawk

After working for an organisation that cares for these kids and others with a whole range of disabilities, you are right on the money. Thats EXACTLY what they do to these kids!

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 06:34 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

If you have not yet seen this documentary by Dr.David Suzuki, it talks about the theory that autism is related to chemicals in the digestive system.

I will try to summarize it from memory.
-2-3 year old chid had an ear infection, the doctors put him through 7-8 rounds of antibiotics before realizing it was not an ear infection at all.
-started showing signs of autism, he had never displayed any prior to the antibiotics.
-Mother researches what digestive enzimes would have been killed by the antibiotics and finds a specific enzime that would have become stronger as a result of the other enzimes being killed.
-She contacts a micro-biologist who sends her experimental samples of an antibiotic that is designed to kill that specific type of bacteria.
-Symptoms immediately stop, her child became affectionate, was taught to use the toilet, even spoke ... it seemed promising, until the scientist was no longer able to supply the drugs.
-Symptoms return to the child almost instantly, and it takes nearly 10 years before another doctor is willing to hear of her experience. In this time she suppliments foods known the overpower this bacteria, yogurts and cheeses, and find it helps reduce the symptoms.
-Today she continues to suppliment foods and shares this knowledge with other mothers who are finding similar success.

Basically the documentary highlights examples that prove autism might be related to bacteria in the gut, and how vaccinations might be making it easier for specific bacteria to develop in children that should not be there. The bacteria being small enough to enter the neural pathways and effect the brain directly... Also highlights statistics of autism in children from africa, where their digestion is not used to many western foods (specifically families from somalia correct me if I'm wrong)- leading to higher rates of autism

I did the best I could to remember I've provided a couple of links below.

David Suzuki looks at the link between autism and gut dysfunction, on the CBC
David Suzuki presents the autism enigma on the nature of things


posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 07:08 PM
reply to post by el1jah

Very interesting. I was aware that there was a connection between gut dysfunction and autism, but I hadn't researched it enough. Thanks for the links!

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 08:59 PM
My sympathies, it really does "take a village " ..and there are so many pressures put upon parents these days to be more than human an individualistic society with unrealistic expectations.
It breaks my heart .

@ infi8nity.... yes indeed , however stress induced mental illness is very real , sane people can do very insane things when pushed to that brink. ....
I know for a fact , that I would give over my rights to a child like that ...same reason I refuse to have anymore children , but people are more than happy to argue against my right to use contraceptives and such and social services that can help parents deal with being overwhelmed .
Did this mother try and reach out for help? Were there warning signs? Was this a case I've seen way too often ..."not my problem , not getting involved": the rough , rugged and raw individualism we as a culture have glorified?
edit on 7-3-2012 by paleorchid13 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 09:42 PM
reply to post by paleorchid13

Good point. Back in the day, extended families lived together, or lived close by each other, and were able to help each other with childcare, cooking and housework. Now, we are all isolated, far apart, and, as mothers, are expected to carry the entire load and do everything, from dawn until well after dusk.

I think, if I was that mother, I would have allowed my son to continue with the day care situation until I found a more community-based autism program. I suspect that changing his routine, one he has had since he was 6 years old, caused his behavior to spiral out of control. I also suspect that the mother realized the futility of her hopes for her son, and, in her exhausted, confused mind, thought it was a kinder fate for him to die in his sleep than to be put in a state school after she died or became too old to care for him.

The fact that she pulled him out of the day care tells me that she honestly believed her son, given the right training, could live independently, or at least in an assisted living situation, in which they are checked on from time to time.

A sad story in any case. Because I have seen so many of these mothers teetering on the edge of insanity, I feel no ill will towards the mother in this story. I only feel pity and wish that things were different.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 09:49 PM
reply to post by VoidHawk

Dr. Wakefield is a hero of mine. He was ridiculed, and his career destroyed, for trying to do right by these children who are considered "collateral damage" in the war for profits.

Thanks for sharing the video!

I never trusted the MMR vaccine. My first child got really sick with it. My second child got a raging case of the measles from that shot, and after the pediatrician actually yelled at me on the phone, told me it was impossible that she could have gotten measles from the shot and that I was a hysterical mother, had to eat his words when I brought her in to him with a 104F temperature and a vicious rash all over her little body.

I tell everybody with small children to space out the vaccines as much as possible, and if their doctor gives them any lip about it, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR.

posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 10:26 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

So very sad. It is sad enough when these things happen but to think a mother who loved her son and couldn't care for him any longer makes me angry at all those who would even consider cutting support programs for these children and parents. I would gladly pay a little more taxes if this mother might have found some relief, even some help for herself and her son. S&F for reminding people how tough it is out there and how lucky they are to be healthy and have children without special needs.

posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 12:18 AM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

Stress induced insanity reason rhyme ....she was just pushed .....
If there is is a lesson ..I would say learn to know your limitations ...and don't let anyone tell you to be ashamed.

posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 04:50 AM
The solution is not to waste taxpayer money on these people.

They should be euthenized as early as possible.What is the sense in letting people with disorders live? Especially when these people have no quality of life anyway. All they are is a drain and a burden.

Allowing children like this to live is sick. Its morbid and sadistic. All the sentimetal do-gooders that want to throw taxpayer money at these burdens on society are insane.

If this guy was a dog with a responsible owner he would have been shot when he was a puppy. If he was born in Sparta they would have thrown the baby into a chasm on Mount Taygetos.


edit on 8-3-2012 by theubermensch because: (no reason given)

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