Mother and godmother murder autistic son in their care

crime | Jun 13, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

Two women are accused of murdering a 14-year-old autistic boy in their care, allegedly because they had become overwhelmed by the 24-hour care required. Alex Spourdalakis was allegedly stabbed to death by his mother, Dorothy Spourdalakis, and his godmother, Jolanta Agatha Skrodzka. Alex had been released from Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago IL in March 2013 after a Youtube appeal by controversial activist Andrew Wakefield. According to Dorothy Spourdalakis , the disabled teen had been neglected and abused at the Catholic medical facility. She vowed to provide her son with “appropriate medical attention.”
 
According to police, Spourdalakis and Skrodzka believed that Alex’s “emotional condition had worsened” since his removal from the hospital, even while the pair could no longer cope with required care for the disabled 200 pound boy. 
 
Spourdalakis, 50,  and Skrodzka, 40, failed in their suicide pact after killing Alex.  The pair took sleeping pills, but did not die in their small apartment in River Grove IL.  The two women allegedly tried kill the boy with sleeping pills. To finish him off, Spourdalakis used a kitchen knife to stab her son a number of times in the chest as he lay helplessly in bed, according to police. She then slashed his wrist and nearly severed his hand. Skrodzka then used the same knife to kill a pet cat. A suicide note composed by the women said that they did not want it to go to a shelter. 
 
The pair locked themselves in the apartment and took sleeping pills in a suicide attempt. When the boy’s father tried unsuccessfully to reach the women with repeated phone calls, accompanied by Alex’s uncle, he went to the apartment on June 9 where he found his dead son and the nearly unconscious women. 
 
Skourdalakis and Skrodzka were admitted to a hospital in River Grove and released on June 11 and charged with murder the same day. “The murder was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner,” Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Maureen O’Brien told the Chicago Tribune. According to River Grove police chief Rodger Loni, law enforcement officers had been called numerous times to assist with transporting Alex to medical appointments. Loni described Alex as “severely autistic,” adding “He was big and strong and unwilling to go to the doctor.” Loni said Alex weighed more than 200 pounds. “We had to restrain and hold him down.” A video produced by Wakefield showed Alex restrained in his bed at a facility in Chicago.
 
A spokesman Illinois’ Department of Family and Children’s Services said that the agency had received allegations of abuse regarding Alex in January 2013. The agency determined that the allegations were unfounded, but did offer family support services. The offer was refused. 
 
It was following a public campaign by the controversial Andrew Wakefield that Alex was released from the care of Loyola University Medical Center. Responding to pleas from Dorothy Spourdalakis that her son was neglected, Wakefield recorded a personal YouTube appeal for donations in March 2013 to provide a home for Alex outside of the hospital, claiming the Alex would be taken away from his mother otherwise. “He needs something simple in the country where he can run around and get the treatment that he needs so he can get better,” said Dorothy Spourdalakis said in an interview with Autism Media Channel.
 
After activist Wakefield posted his YouTube appeal, Spourdalakis wrote on Age of Autism that a donor had given her the money to let her take Alex away from the hospital and provide the care he needed. “We know no one will help us unless we help ourselves,” she wrote.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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