Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another Autistic Child Murdered

As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, three-year-old Marcus Fiesel's foster parents, Liz and David Carroll Jr., intentionally left the boy locked in a hot closet with no food or water for two days. They burned the body and then reported to police that Marcus, who was autistic, hyperactive, and prone to wandering, had gotten lost in a park. County Prosecutor Joe Deters and County Sheriff Simon Leis discussed the crime at a press conference.

"It really is one of the most heartless things I've ever seen," Deters said. "The bottom line is you wouldn't treat a dog like this."

Leis added, "In my 35 years involved in law enforcement, this is the worst I've seen."

The Carrolls have been arrested on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. More serious charges are expected as the investigation continues.

The news article also described the reaction of the community:

Many of those who helped search for Marcus held a candlelight vigil at the Carrolls' former residence Monday night.

Late into the night the crowd left, but left behind messages of sadness.

Candles, no longer lit, were placed in the shape of a heart and Marcus' initials, M and F.

Three bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals lay in front of the house.

Kandy Meadors, who lived down the street from the Carrolls' rental house and whose 11-year-old son occasionally played with the Carroll children, said it was hard to understand how parents could harm a child.

"I can't believe this. I just can't comprehend it," she said. "All mothers will cry over this, every mother on the street is crying."

In my view, this was an excellent job of reporting by staff writer Sharon Coolidge, who got it exactly right in describing this crime as what it was—the horrific murder of a helpless child. No sympathy whatsoever for the perpetrators. She doesn't even comment on Marcus' autism diagnosis (which was mentioned in earlier stories about his disappearance).

What a contrast between this thoughtful, responsible piece of journalism and the abysmal reporting we've seen on other murders of autistic children, where the parents, no matter how heinous their acts, were portrayed as long-suffering martyrs who loved the child but couldn't cope with the burden of the child's existence. What a contrast between this story and the revolting claim by Autism Speaks that all parents of autistic children think about killing them.

If only we had more decent, ethical reporting like this, stories about murdered autistic children would not have to be written so often.

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  • Great Ghu. That leaves me so very sad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:02 PM  

  • Oh no.....not again :-(

    I'll bet the lack of sympathy had something to do with the fact that these were foster parents and not the biological parents.

    By Blogger notmercury, at 8:15 PM  

  • If you folks would stop trying to prevent parents from helping their kids, this wouldn't happen at all.

    By Blogger John Best, at 8:21 PM  

  • John,

    If you'd shut up with your nonsensical ranting about mercury and chelation and the "hell" that is autism, maybe parents wouldn't think their kids were broken and without hope.

    Clearly, you're incapable of realizing that you're way more contributory to the problem than to the solution.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:41 PM  

  • That's just so sad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:51 PM  

  • Fore sam, the problem was no one was helping this child and his biological family. The mother was not wealthy, ill, and had other children. The child had elopement issues and the home was dirty because she was ill and over her head, so the the child was taken away from her and put in an even worse environment. Perhaps if the system had provided help to the mother and her children, the child would not have put into an only for money abusive foster situation. The foster parents bound this child in a blanket with tape and left him in a closet to die while they left town with the rest of the family for a family reunion. These foster parents were not trying to help the child.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 PM  

  • Right you are Joseph,
    And let's not forget that this child was three and unlikely to have received any thimerosal vaccines.

    Exactly how would chelation have averted this or the other murders, troll-sam? This boy was three and your son, JB's son, as well as many other autistic children, have been chelated for more than two years and are still quite autistic. Do the math.

    Try to keep in mind that another child is dead, a life taken. I know you don't see the loss of an autistic life as a loss at all but this isn't about you.

    Read your comment again and try to understand why others will read it as endorsing murder. Is that really what you meant?

    By Blogger notmercury, at 12:11 AM  

  • abfh: This child was just like mine, autistic, hyperactive, and stunningly beautiful. I am sitting here crying, having a delayed reaction from when I first found this article last night and started circulating it.

    I started to read through the 89 *pages* of people writing in to express their outrage and sorrow over this. I couldn't bring myself to read through more than the first few pages,


    ...but clearly this child was seen simply as a innocent child, not some kind of cautionary tale about autism.

    Fore sam: I have never even obliquely addressed you before; however, that you could POSSIBLY act like a troll here, on this particular blog entry, after reading this article describing among the most horrific things I could think of to happen to a 3 year old, scared, suffering, lonely, child, locked in a closet with his hands tied behind his back, without food, water, light or air...I just cannot believe that you would inject your same stale comments into this discussion.

    Can you possibly not know how obnoxious, insensitive, and even cruel that comment was and how completely out of touch you are?

    NOTHING about autism forces people to torture autistic children and leave them to die while they run off to a family reunion. Not one thing, no matter how severely severely severe the autistic person is.

    Do you really think that Marcus's birth parents were sitting around surfing the internet reading the stuff that we folks write about? Do you think that they were just about to chelate Marcus when all of a sudden they read an article from autistics.org and changed their minds? Who is trying to prevent whom from doing what here?

    Marcus came from an allegedly filthy and unsupervised home and he was taken away from his home and sent to his death. The kind of help this child and this birth family needed was money, food, staff, educational and therapy services, cleaning services, whatever it would have taken, but instead--I guess to save money--child welfare just took him from his home and paid the Carroll's $33 per day to torture and eventually kill Marcus.

    Notmercury: When I sent this to Autism Diva this morning, I had exactly the same thought. Every time an article like this surfaces in the media, we should all be looking at how parents versus other caregivers are treated and see if there is a trend. But then again, people who kill other people in institutions are not birth parents, and I've seen others make excuses for them, too (e.g., on Kev's blog posts concerning the JRC from a woman named Ann). Like, "They did all they could for this child that no other school or institution could handle. Things happen."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 AM  

  • More pictures:

    Liz Carroll acting in front of the microphones and cameras:


    More pictures of Marcus:


    Video: Mourning Marcus:



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 AM  

  • I mentioned this on my blog, with a link to yours.

    All the best, Jtg.

    By Blogger Justthisguy, at 3:24 AM  

  • "Marcus came from an allegedly filthy and unsupervised home and he was taken away from his home and sent to his death. The kind of help this child and this birth family needed was money, food, staff, educational and therapy services, cleaning services, whatever it would have taken, but instead--I guess to save money--child welfare just took him from his home and paid the Carroll's $33 per day to torture and eventually kill Marcus."

    I think that pretty much sums this up. There is a lot more going on in these cases than individual wicked parents. There is a system of oppression here, a complex multi-layered one that stretches from lack of support for parents and carers, systematic discrimination against autistics and disabled people generally in employment, education, access to services, through to the way autism is portrayed as a disaster that destroys lives. This social system of oppression really makes the murder of autistic children by their own children inevitable. In fact, parents who commit these acts are acting as the executioners on behalf of the system.

    And I also agree that there would be more sympathy for the killers if they were her natural parents.

    By Blogger Redaspie, at 1:55 PM  

  • To those who responded to a string of trollish comments: I deleted all that garbage. Comment moderation will be enabled temporarily.

    To any troll(s) who may be confused, I'll make myself completely clear: There will be no sock-puppet conversations on this blog, regardless of the content. Period.

    By Blogger abfh, at 5:29 PM  

  • This makes me very, very sad.
    When will it stop?

    By Blogger Random Mom, at 9:53 AM  

  • Please do not call Fore Sam a troll. You insult trolls.

    From the descriptions of the child's home life, I do not have the slightest doubt that this child is a victim of a marginally (at best) system of support. Support for families should come from the extended family as well as the government. There does not seem to be a system which is working.

    These parents could have, if it existed, dropped the child off at respite. I suspect there was none.

    Since the child was in foster care, why did they not contact the foster care agency to see what could be worked out? Where was the extended family?

    There is a load of responsibility for this tragedy to be spread around.

    By Blogger Free Speaker, at 2:47 PM  

  • TP: "Please do not call Fore Sam a troll. You insult trolls."

    Heh... actually, probably quite true... sadly :(

    NM: "Try to keep in mind that another child is dead, a life taken. I know you don't see the loss of an autistic life as a loss at all but this isn't about you."

    I was perturbed by JBJr's infantile rant, but not as much as usual... a clear sign that he's completely lost whatever value he thinks he still has as an agitator in blogs which do not agree with him. The fact that he has had to create about half a million sockpuppets to agree with him suggests also that even his autism-is-mercury-poisoning friends have pretty much deserted him. Wonder why. This isn't about him, and he knows it; but he just wants to get it to be about him.

    NM: "Read your comment again and try to understand why others will read it as endorsing murder. Is that really what you meant?"

    To be honest, from the way he treats autistics, I would not be surprised if he does mean to endorse murders like this one. If it were true that he does endorse them, well... like I say, I would be far from surprised.

    When he dies, I'd like to go to the funeral. Just to make sure that he's really gone.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:11 PM  

  • "It really is one of the most heartless things I've ever seen," Deters said. "The bottom line is you wouldn't treat a dog like this."

    Whether with autism or not, whether biological or foster parents, doesn't that just sum the whole thing up?
    Heartless, stupid and evil.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:57 PM  

  • I've been out of town and saw this on the news last night. Couldn't wait to get home to see what was on the bloglines.

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. Thanks for writing about it.

    By Blogger Attila the Mom, at 11:10 PM  

  • I just can't believe this. There is no possible, possible exuse for a murder like this. There is nothing that this child could have done that would make it acceptable to break his arm, let alone leave him to suffer and die. This is the kind of thing that insane lunatics do, murder children. There is a young boy who lives down the street from me. He is Autistic. A few weeks ago he found some matches and set the house on fire. His father is a writer and his computer and nearly all of his work in progress was destroyed. I'm not saying that raising an Autistic child is easy, but the kind of monster who would go to the mesure of killing a three year old should be locked up and never let out. And I can not understand how anyone could say that a parent who kills their child is sympathetic in any way. I just don't understand.

    By Blogger Andy Cantor, at 12:23 AM  

  • "Support for families should come from the extended family as well as the government."

    Generally, calls for greater involvement from extended families in bringing up children (leaving aside the issues of disability) tend to be used as an argument for cutting government support. Here in my country the old Thatcher governments used to go on and on about the responsibilities of parents and families and so on, it was part of their ideological justification for cutting services.

    Personally, and purely for political reasons I'd admit, I'd go the other way completely and just say: stuff the so-called responsibilities of the family, child care should be nationalised.

    By Blogger Redaspie, at 3:20 PM  

  • "Jonsmum," I still think you're John Best using a proxy server. If not, that should be easy enough to prove by showing me a link to any comments, etc., that you posted anywhere before August 2006. I don't think you can.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:44 PM  

  • The significance of August 2006 is that several newly registered Blogger identities, apparently in a coordinated effort, all started posting comments supportive of John Best on blogs where he had either been banned or ridiculed. The logical conclusion is that these identities are sockpuppets.

    According to Kevin Leitch, "Susan Lord" and "kevin_1000" posted on his blog from the same IP address, and "kevin_1000" also posted a comment to Kevin Leitch's blog using a proxy server in Korea. The initial comment posted by "Susan Lord" on Kevin Leitch's blog was identical to the comment by "jonsmum" that I deleted here.

    Evidence of sockpuppetry? I'd say so.

    Go amuse yourself somewhere else, John. It looks like a good day for golf.

    By Blogger abfh, at 11:07 AM  

  • OK, I looked at the comment in my archive. The post itself is from June. The comment was made in either July or August; there's no way of telling because Blogger doesn't keep track of the date posted, only the time.

    And if you don't know what an IP address is, then what were you talking about when you said that Kevin Leitch proved your identity?

    I do have to wonder whether John would go to this much trouble to create a sockpuppet and argue about it. I suppose it's possible that you could be a real person who saw the "Susan Lord" comment on Kev's blog and decided to make a troll of yourself by copying it here.

    Anyway, whether or not you're John Best, trolling on a post about a murdered child is, as Autiemom wrote, "obnoxious, insensitive, and cruel."

    By Blogger abfh, at 2:53 PM  

  • All right, let's see if I've got this straight. Your real name is Susan Lord, you also post as jonsmum, and kevin_1000 is a different person who uses the same computer (your IP address is a unique identifier for your Internet connection). Your husband, perhaps?

    Go ahead and repost your comment. And while you're at it, why don't you answer the question that Kev asked you on his blog:

    "maybe you could explain, without silliness, just how I’m exploiting his death?"

    I don't delete comments when people express legitimate disagreement with my views (as opposed to posting for no other purpose than to harass me). You may have noticed all the comments on various recent posts from a person who signed as Behavior Analyst; he disagreed with my opinion that journalists should not suggest that it's understandable for parents to think about murdering their autistic children, and he explained his reasoning.

    And by the way, Kev did not "use" my blog for anything. He linked to my site because this was where he learned about the news story. Kev did not discuss his post with me before he posted it.

    By Blogger abfh, at 9:01 PM  

  • Jonsmum, I don't have any objection to the content of what you wrote. When I deleted it originally, I thought it was posted just to annoy me by John Best, who has a history of using sockpuppets for trolling on my blog and others (see this comment on a post on my site, where he used a sockpuppet that he called Autistic Diva).

    Your message is very clear, that highlighting the murder of "autistic" children, is putting ideas into people's heads.

    Not necessarily. It depends on the particular slant of the story. Some journalists put dangerous ideas into people's heads by describing murder, or thoughts of murder, as understandable (or less heinous) when a child has autism or some other disability. Other journalists take the opposite point of view, mentioning the disability to show that the child was particularly vulnerable and that the crime was especially heinous. The second type of story, although it highlights the disability, doesn't put murderous thoughts into anybody's head.

    As for my "cause," the main purpose of this blog is to challenge prejudiced descriptions of autistic people in the media and elsewhere. Many of my posts discuss news stories and other sources of prejudiced stereotypes. I also write about good journalism and good advocacy when I see it.

    By Blogger abfh, at 10:57 AM  

  • Yes, that's fair enough.

    *extends hand*

    Sorry I got all paranoid on you. If you want to comment here in the future, you're welcome to do so.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:41 AM  

  • i can't believe someone could accualy do this to a child weather its your son, foster son or even a young boy you've seen playing somthing like this should never happen, i think both foster parents should have got 99 years so they will rot and die in prison with weekly punishments. i know i would not be able to stop myself from putting both foster perents in so much pain, although i wouldn't kill them thats the easy was out

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:07 PM  

  • Tragic, sick, disgusting. I have 2 boys with autism, who I love dearly. I would only want a "Cure", if it would make them happier. Primarily that is what I am concerned with. These people will most certainly rot in hell; I hope they rot on earth too. So sick, what agency certified them as foster parents? I would sue the agency- they apparently did not truly "know" these individuals. How incredibly sick and cruel. Sweet boy, what a shame. He's at peace with God now, even if his "foster parents" didn't love him; God does.

    By Blogger margomouse, at 8:23 PM  

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