In March 2001, Rachel Capra Craig admitted using a "cocktail" of drugs to kill her 14-year-old daughter, Chelsea, who had Rett syndrome, a condition that has some of the same characteristics as autism.
Sixteen months later, Mrs. Craig committed suicide during her second unsupervised release from a Montreal psychiatric institution.
In August 2003, Villanova University professor Mine An Ener confessed to using a kitchen knife to slice the throat of her 6-month-old daughter, Raya, who had Down syndrome.
Less than a month later, Ener's lifeless body was found on a day-room mattress in a county jail. She had wrapped a plastic trash bag around her own head.
On April 12, 2006, security cameras on the Hull Bridge in England captured images of Alison Davies and her 12-year-old son, Ryan, who had autism, jumping over the rails to their deaths.
And the day before Mother's Day this year, Dr. Karen McCarron admittedly used a plastic trash bag to suffocate her 3-year-old daughter, Katie, who had autism.
Now McCarron is on suicide watch in a county jail, while her attorney argues for a reduction in bail.
Do you sense a pattern, here?
Here's another pattern I hope we can avoid:
In every one of these cases, neighbors and family members described the murderer as a lovely, devoted mother. In each case the murderer was portrayed as a desperate victim of her child's disability and a victim of a social service system that failed to provide enough of the right supports.
After each death, parent groups advocating for more government support have said that more funding would help keep such tragedies from happening.
While I understand the genuine need for more family supports, I wish that those who advocate for such supports would avoid exploiting these extreme cases for their causes. Doing so reinforces the idea that these children are horrible burdens to their parents and to society.
In no way can anyone justify murdering a child, nor sympathize with the killer.
Never forget, each of these women had infinite alternatives to murder.
Dave Reynolds, Editor
"Chelsea Capra Craig"