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Grandfather Says Girl's Murder Had Nothing To Do With Autism
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 24, 2006

PEKIN, ILLINOIS--"This was not about autism. This was not about a lack of support."

That quote came from Michael McCarron, talking to Journal Star News columnist Phil Luciano about the May 13 suffocation death of his 3-year-old granddaughter, Katherine.

McCarron's daughter-in-law, Karen McCarron M.D., has admitted to holding a plastic trash bag over Katie's head until she stopped breathing, then lying to police to cover up the crime.

Dr. McCarron later said that she killed her daughter to "end her pain" caused by autism after the child refused to take a nap. Police also learned that McCarron tried to commit suicide the next day by taking an overdose of over-the-counter medication.

McCarron, 37, has been on suicide watch at the Tazewell County Jail since she was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder last week. Her bond was reduced Wednesday from $2 million to $1 million. Her defense attorney had requested her bond be reduced to $500,000, but the judge said she poses a flight risk because she has family in her native Germany.

Several other mothers who have admitted to killing their children with disabilities have later tried to commit suicide. [See IDE Weblog]

Katie's father, Paul McCarron, filed for divorce Tuesday citing "extreme and repeated mental cruelty". He is asking for full custody of Katie's two-year-old sister, Emily.

As has happened in other cases where children with disabilities were killed by their parents, many news articles and weblogs commenting on Katie's death have emphasized that raising a child with autism brings with it unique challenges that can be difficult for parents to deal with. Some have suggested that McCarron may have been overly stressed because she did not have the supports she needed to deal with her daughter's autism.

Katie's grandfather isn't buying that argument.

"I am positively revolted when I read quotes that would imply any degree of understanding or hint at condoning the taking of my granddaughter's life," Michael McCarron told Luciano. "I'm dealing with a very straight-forward murder case."

Mr. McCarron said that the levels of support available to the pathologist in central Illinois had absolutely nothing to do with Katie's death. Katie had only been back with her mother in Illinois for less than two weeks before she was killed, he said. For several months before that, the child was with her paternal grandmother in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"It was a sacrifice," he said about caring for his granddaughter. "(But) this was not a chore."

If Dr. McCarron is convicted, she could face up to 60 years in prison for each of the two murder counts.

"Helping everyone but herself" (Peoria Journal Star News)
"Husband files for divorce" (Peoria Journal Star News)
"Support key for dealing with autism" (Peoria Journal Star News)
'This was not about autism'" (Peoria Journal Star News)
"Karen McCarron: Doctor Says She Killed Daughter To "End Their Pain" (Inclusion Daily Express)
NEW! Commentary from the Inclusion Daily Express Weblog:
"Please fight temptation to exploit child murder" by Dave Reynolds

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