An emotionally unstable mother stands accused of murdering her 6-year-old autistic son during a mental breakdown, throwing him into Oregon's Yaquina Bay from a 246-foot-tall bridge. The boy's family says that London McCabe, the victim, loved to show off his collection of bright hats and wear soft clothing. While nonverbal and severely autistic, London has been described by his family as an "intuitive, very intelligent . . . good kid."
London's 34-year-old mother, Jillian McCabe, is believed to have committed the terrible crime while suffering from a mental breakdown. According to McCabe's family, she was highly stressed under the pressure of caring for London and her ailing husband, who had recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and a large brain mass. "Jillian really struggled with her mental health, and I know she was just out of her mind when this happened," a great aunt told NBC News of McCabe's mindset during the murder: "Jillian was always so patient with him, and loving. She really had a lot of compassion for his condition. When he was screaming at the top of his lungs, which was the only way he could communicate, she didn't get upset at all. She would calmly comfort him, and I was amazed at how patient she was."
Jillian McCabe called Oregon authorities immediately after throwing London from the bridge, and police subsequently arrested her on charges of aggravated murder, murder, and first-degree manslaughter. London's death stands as a testament to the types of tragic repercussions that can result from untreated mental health struggles, and we can only hope that from his devastating death will come awareness. It isn't the first time a mother stands accused of trying to harm an autistic child. Just last month New York Magazine profiled a Michigan mother who pleaded guilty to trying to suffocate her autistic daughter with carbon monoxide. If these stories prompt other families to seek professional help when under severe stress, perhaps these types of heinous crimes will become less commonplace.