Thursday, July 29, 2010

Superior, Colorado: Coroner says baby, Rylan Rochester, died of suffocation

Rylan Rochester, age 6 months

A 6-month-old Superior boy who was allegedly killed by his mother, a mental-health counselor, died of suffocation, Boulder County Coroner Thomas Faure said Wednesday.

Faure said Rylan Rochester, who was pronounced dead at Avista Adventist Hospital on June 1, was the victim of a homicide.

Rylan's mother, Stephanie Rochester, a mental-health counselor at Children's Hospital at the time, is charged with first- degree murder and child abuse. Rochester told police that she thought Rylan had autism and that she felt responsible.

She said she felt she and her husband couldn't have fun while caring for a severely autistic child, according to the affidavit. Rochester also said she didn't want Rylan to suffer and put a plastic shopping bag and a blanket over the baby's face to kill him, according to police.

Her husband, Lloyd Rochester IV, has not been charged.

Colwich, Kansas: Mason Medlam dies after being pulled from farm pond

Mason Medlam, age 5

The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA | Mason Medlam, the 5-year-old boy who was found submerged in a farm pond near Colwich, Kan., on Wednesday, has died.

He died this morning at a Wichita hospital, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

Mason, who had autism, had been missing for more than a half-hour from his home in the 4200 block of North 183rd West before he was found just before 11:15 a.m.

The pond is about a quarter-mile from his house and a mile southwest of Colwich.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or

Bronx, New York: , Micaela Jackson and autistic son, Kenneth Holmes, found dead in suspected murder-suicide

Kenneth Holmes, age 12

BY Kevin Deutsch and John Lauinger
Thursday, July 29th 2010, 4:00 AM

Frustrated over the demands of raising an autistic child, police believe, a Bronx mother shot the boy to death before turning the gun on herself Wednesday night, cops said.

Micaela Jackson, 37, and Kenneth Holmes, 12, both killed by a gunshot to the head, were found in bed in the single mother's apartment on Loring Place in Morris Heights, police said.

The suspected murder-suicide - the second in as many weeks in the city - left Jackson's family and Kenneth's father shattered.

"I don't see the reason for any of this," said Kenneth Holmes Sr. "We were just getting ready to go to Jamaica, and now this."

Holmes, who was not married to Jackson but remained close with her, said he was in disbelief because Jackson had just been promoted at her job at Montefiore Medical Center.

"She was at a good point in her life," he said, tears streaming down his face as he glanced at a picture of his doe-eyed, curly-haired namesake.

Cops were called to the tragic scene shortly before 7:30 p.m. after Jackson's sister, worried because she could not reach her, went to the apartment, police said.

The door was locked and fastened with a chain from the inside, a fact that strengthened investigators' belief that the deaths were a murder-suicide, police said.

The sister got the building's super to gain entry, leading to the awful discovery. A 9-mm. pistol was recovered close to the bodies of mother and son, police said.

Jackson's heartbroken family gathered outside the apartment building last night, some crying, others shaking with grief.

"She's a good woman. She's a good mother," said Jackson's cousin, refusing to provide a name. "We're looking for answers. It's just a tragedy."

Neighbors said they would often see Jackson early in the morning, putting her son on the bus before leaving for work.

Neighbor Esmerelda Diaz, 22, said she recently saw Jackson chase after her son as he darted across the street.

"She really looked stressed out. She was so tired of screaming at him," she said. "Maybe he pushed her to the extreme and it came to this?"

Holmes could not accept that possibility last night, calling his boy "a gift."

"He was autistic, but he had charm," the devastated father said. "He had a great smile. Even if you had an evil heart, you would still love him."

Last Thursday, the bodies of a young mother and her four children were found amid the ruins of their burned Staten Island home.

Detectives have not made a final determination in the case, but believe Leisa Jones cut the throats of three of her children before setting the blaze that killed her and her youngest child.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Irving, Texas: Mother, Saiqa Akhter, calls 911 after strangling her children, Zain and Faryaal

After her two children were strangled to death, a Texas mother called police... on herself.

Saiqa Akhter, 30, was arrested on Monday night and is expected to be charged with capital murder for the death of her son Zain, 5, who died on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Her daughter, Faryaal, died Tuesday evening.

The woman's uncle, Wasimul Haque, said Akhter had been depressed, the Associated Press reported.

"It looks like she had mental problems. I don't understand why she did it," said Haque.

Akhter called police around 5 p.m. on Monday from her Irving home, about 15 miles from Dallas. She told the operator she used a wire to strangle her children until they turned blue.

The uncle said Zain had autism and a severe speech impediment but was improving. He added that the kids' father, Rashid Akhter, was "totally broken."

Police said the woman was the only one at home at the time of the murder.

It isn't the couple's first brush with law enforcement. In May 2009, the parents were contacted by Child Protective Services after they left their son home alone to take their daughter, who was having respiratory problems, to the hospital.

"They admitted to it and they said they understand why it was dangerous to leave a child that young at home by themselves," said Marissa Gonzales, a CPS spokeswoman.

"They said they had been really concerned about their daughter and so they just hadn't been thinking but they were adamant that it wouldn't happen again."