Another autistic child murdered

20 Nov

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that 12 year old Kyle Dutter was murdered by his dad..

He wasn’t killed. He was murdered. His dad, his own father, put him in the car, drove him a distance and then shot him. This coward then turned the gun on himself, thus at least saving Kyle’s family the sort of horror and recurring tragedy that the McCarron family had (and still have) to face following the murder of Katie.

On Tuesday, an anonymous 911 caller directed Madison police to a sport-utility vehicle parked in front of Haen Family Park on the city’s Far West Side. Inside, police say they found Dutter and his son with gunshot wounds.

Kyle, who had a developmental disability, died that day. His father died Wednesday. Authorities say Dutter, 36, recently of Middleton, shot his son, then himself.

There is a website for Kyle which shows an excitement about Hallow’een. There are also a collection of photos on the website showing Kyle and his killer.

There can’t be any excuses for this. None. Kyle’s killer may well have been suffering from financial pressures or other kinds of pressure and the locality may well have had a severe lack of appropriate autism services – so what? That is no excuse – and never should be – for picking up a weapon and taking away someone _elses_ options and life. Kyle had a mother. Why not simply take Kyle back to her? What about Kyle’s grandparents mentioned in the article? There was no need for this.

I have a 16 year old son who is just beginning to spread his wings in the world. Kyle Dutter is another in what is a unnervingly long line of autistic children who will never have that opportunity, an opportunity denied to them by the very people who should be providing it to them.

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48 Responses to “Another autistic child murdered”

  1. Niksmom November 20, 2008 at 23:21 #

    This is horrifying. I simply don’t understand what would drive someone to do this to another human being. Regardless of circumstances.

    • Jordyn January 1, 2014 at 07:09 #

      This article just shows how ignorant people can really be. If you are not the family members you have no right to judge.

      • Chris January 1, 2014 at 18:06 #

        So only family can judge murderers? I guess we will have to let all parents who have murdered their children out of jail because the judges were not part of their family.

        Perhaps Karen McCarron should be released from jail, because the judge that convicted her was not related. Though I am sure little Katie’s father rather see her stay in jail, especially since he was the one actually caring for the child.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 1, 2014 at 20:11 #

        So, the jury for such a case would be the family members of the accused?

        I’m good with saying a man who shoots his own kid is bad. If that makes me judgmental–so what? I’m not going to shelve my opinions because someone on the internet leaves a 20 word apology for a murderer.

      • Lara Lohne January 2, 2014 at 19:45 #

        There is never, EVER, any justification for a parent murdering their own child. That is a BAD thing for a parent to do and completely opposite the role a parent is supposed to play so yeah, based on the data of what a parent is supposed to be, a parent who murders their child is a bad parent. That’s judgmental? Well, I think you seriously need to rethink your idea of good vs. bad parenting then.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 4, 2014 at 17:55 #

        “This article just shows how ignorant people can really be. If you are not the family members you have no right to judge.”

        Are you a family member? Then by what right do you have to judge?

        Are you one of my family members? If not, by what right do you have to judge me?

        See how bad that logic is?

  2. mike stanton November 21, 2008 at 00:24 #

    I think the autism connection is irrelevant here. What we have is another case of a parent deciding to kill themselves and take their family with them. It is no different from John Hogan, the UK parent who jumped from a hotel balcony with his two children in his arms. His son died and he survived along with his daughter. Now he (or his lawyer) is appealing against a verdict of unlawful killing!

    Then there was businessman Christopher Foster who shot his wife and daughter, set fire to his £1 million home and killed himself because he was facing financial ruin.

    These people are so self centred that they cannot imagine their family carrying on without them. I am not qualified to judge their mental health but if “pathologically selfish” was in the DSM I am guessing that they would tick all the boxes.

  3. Clay November 21, 2008 at 01:22 #

    I also saw this on his website:
    “Endocrinologist- (puberty, monthly shot being
    administered to control heavy onset of
    puberty naturally produced at my age)”

    I wonder where the father got the idea for this (Lupron?). The whole thing is just sad. Children should have unconditional love from their parents.

  4. kristina November 21, 2008 at 03:38 #

    just sorrow

  5. Another Voice November 21, 2008 at 04:57 #

    I can only offer prayers for the family.

  6. navi November 21, 2008 at 10:06 #

    I have to agree with mike Stanton here. The autism is irrelevant, and from what I saw of the website it’s definitely a clue to the parent doesn’t want to lve but child can’t live without him thing. Or an even more pathological if parent can’t take it shouldn’t leave child to deal with it. The website doesn’t indicate any particular negative view of his sons autism. (hormones can wreak havoc on a typical kid, let alone an autistic one, so I won’t pass judgement on the endocrinology thing)

    It’s sad and wrong, but I wonder why none of these articles ever consider the mental health of the perpetrator rather than the victim. If mental health services were easier to access and less stigmatizing, we’d see a lot less of this happening, I think. While mental health issues won’t make most of those affected behave in this manner, the fact is it does happen to some.

  7. David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction) November 21, 2008 at 11:14 #

    i feel sick now.

  8. bullet November 21, 2008 at 11:47 #

    :(.

  9. Kev November 21, 2008 at 12:30 #

    Navi, its a bit of an urban myth that people with mental illness are more likely to committ murders:

    We have to be aware that only a tiny proportion of people with mental health problems commit homicide, and not use [these rare cases] to build our mental health policies for the thousands of people.

    In fact, people with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of crime.

    I think the issue of autism _is_ relevant. Whilst I agree that, irrespective of this childs autism, murder is wrong, it is clear from the article that this childs diagnosis is already being used to try and ‘explain’ the murder. That cannot be allowed.

  10. Jen November 21, 2008 at 13:38 #

    That’s horribly sad news. My heart goes out to the surviving family- I can’t imagine how you ever deal with something like this.

  11. Bunny November 21, 2008 at 15:37 #

    “the locality may well have had a severe lack of appropriate autism services – so what?”

    I’ve been told by a number of people that Madison, WI has outstanding services for autistic children. I think Madison was on the cutting edge of inclusion schooling, etc.

    Regardless, this is just a devastating story. Breaks my heart completely.

  12. Regan November 21, 2008 at 15:42 #

    A tragedy.

  13. Another Voice November 21, 2008 at 16:33 #

    Madison WI. has a great reputation for services. The University of WI. is there and very active.

  14. Jen November 21, 2008 at 17:01 #

    From the article the father was having more trouble with financial difficulties than any lack of services. I’m with Kev in hoping that the media don’t paint this as an “autism” tragedy.

    Reading Kyle’s webpage breaks my heart. He was so close in age to my kids.

  15. Eleanor November 21, 2008 at 17:14 #

    This is tragic. What makes this type of situation even more sickening to me is that I suspect guys like this may have felt that this course of action is condoned by society, as expressed in that horrendous Autism Every Day video that got so much play. Depression I can understand. Homicide, I can’t.

  16. feebee November 21, 2008 at 17:52 #

    Wasn’t Lupron an unproven treatment for autism? That rings some bells…

    So horrific that this happened. My heart goes out to Kyle’s family.

  17. Kev November 21, 2008 at 20:07 #

    feebee – it is, yes. I’m reserving judgement on whether he really did have precocious puberty until more info comes along.

  18. Patrick November 21, 2008 at 23:39 #

    Kyle, wish you were here.

    Kev,
    From the pictures it does not immediately appear that he was overdeveloped. Tall and skinny, yes, sprouting moustache, not that I can see. (No, it’s not a clinical observation, but puberty and facial/sideburn hair usually go together too.)

  19. feebee November 22, 2008 at 00:32 #

    Even if he had precocious puberty, I assume 12 is old enough to let the actual puberty proceed?

  20. Navi November 23, 2008 at 03:27 #

    I did not say that those affected with mental illness are more likely to do this. I said mental illness can cause some to do this. I even said mental illness doesn’t cause most of those affected to do such things.

    Attempted suicide is generally considered a sign of mental illness. That would lead one to believe that someone who commits suicide was also mentally ill. I’m not exactly sure why murder-suicide would be any different.

    I happen to be married to someone whose mental illness has affected him in some pretty darn scary ways. Ways that would be considered criminal by many. Scary enough that I took him to the hospital and reported things that I never would have to anyone I know, in order to get him treated, as the typical wait weeks for approval from the insurance route and have him evaluated just to make sure it isn’t a physical health issue first wasn’t working. The fact that he is not scary now that he is on medication, even though he still has some of the physical health issues he had before, leads me to believe it was his mental illness that caused it. Treatment has meant worlds of difference to our family. If mental illnesses were treated like physical ones, maybe he’d have gotten it sooner, without me having to take him to the hospital. If mental illnesses were treated like physical ones, perhaps we’d have better medications and treatments.

    Perhaps, however, I shouldn’t have chalked his behavior to his mental illness. Perhaps I should have decided he was an asshole and kicked him out on his ass, breaking up our family, instead of getting him the treatment he needed.

    And I’m sorry, in my personal opinion, you are sick if you are capable of killing yourself or another human being. I’m also of the opinion that a large number of people in US prisons wouldn’t be there if they got treatment (or if we weren’t a racist society, but that’s a whole other story). Just because they don’t have a diagnosis doesn’t mean they are not mentally ill. As a matter of fact, my husband’s mental illness is not severe enough for him to use it as a defense, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t play a part in what he does. I wouldn’t doubt that the reason those diagnosed don’t commit crimes at a higher rate is because having a diagnosis means they’ve had some sort of treatment.

  21. Navi November 23, 2008 at 03:39 #

    on Puberty:
    The website said the puberty was “naturally produced at my age”, which means most likely the therapy was so that he’d be easier to deal with, and not because the puberty was excessive. I’m seeing puberty wreak havoc on my oldest, who’s only 10, though I don’t plan on getting her treated for it…

  22. Kev November 23, 2008 at 11:43 #

    I did not say that those affected with mental illness are more likely to do this. I said mental illness can cause some to do this. I even said mental illness doesn’t cause most of those affected to do such things.

    Then I misunderstood you.

    Attempted suicide is generally considered a sign of mental illness. That would lead one to believe that someone who commits suicide was also mentally ill.

    Thats not quite true. The mental illness I’ve had for the last 25 years (manic depression aka bipolar in the US) includes suicide as part of a range of other indicators. Taken on its own, I’m not sure it can be considered as defining or even strongly indicating a mental illness.

    I happen to be married to someone whose mental illness has affected him in some pretty darn scary ways. Ways that would be considered criminal by many.

    I’m sure my wife could empathise with you.

    If mental illnesses were treated like physical ones, maybe he’d have gotten it sooner, without me having to take him to the hospital. If mental illnesses were treated like physical ones, perhaps we’d have better medications and treatments.

    I entirely agree.

    Perhaps, however, I shouldn’t have chalked his behavior to his mental illness. Perhaps I should have decided he was an asshole and kicked him out on his ass, breaking up our family, instead of getting him the treatment he needed.

    From what you’ve said your husband (and I) have a range of symptoms, definitive of a mental illness which has responded to treatment. This man has displayed one thing – murder and suicide. In all other reports he is described positively.

    And I’m sorry, in my personal opinion, you are sick if you are capable of killing yourself or another human being.

    I don’t agree with that. I think a large number of people are simply selfish. Some are undoubtably mentally ill, but I know of at least one murderer who was examined by mental health specialists after murdering her autistic child and then attempting a sucide. She was not mentally ill. Just a selfish, lazy person. Not a nice thought in terms of what it says about the human race but true I think.

  23. Schwartz November 23, 2008 at 17:23 #

    Kev,

    Thats not quite true. The mental illness I’ve had for the last 25 years (manic depression aka bipolar in the US) includes suicide as part of a range of other indicators. Taken on its own, I’m not sure it can be considered as defining or even strongly indicating a mental illness.

    Aren’t the vast majority of people who attempt suicide afflicted with some sort of mental illness? I’ve seen numbers that state that 85-90% of successful suicides had at least one diagnosis of mental illness prior to death.

    From what you’ve said your husband (and I) have a range of symptoms, definitive of a mental illness which has responded to treatment. This man has displayed one thing – murder and suicide. In all other reports he is described positively.

    This can be very misleading. I’ve read more stories about how neighbours of drug dealers, murderers, war criminals all thought the person next door was nice, polite, harmless and positive. The press never finds out the truth in these circumstances until much later when it rarely gets reported.

    We get murder suicides here all the time (one this week actually), and Autism is rarely if ever noted as a factor. There was a particular traumatic event involving someone in my former company where the father killed the mother and his two teenage daughters over a period of two days (he had to wait for the second daughter to come home) before calling police and killing himself. In that case everyone thought the family was great, there were no indications of any public problems, but after some more thorough investigation, it was revealed that the father had abusive tendencies and that he/they had been having significant financial difficulties.

    Navi,

    If mental illnesses were treated like physical ones, maybe he’d have gotten it sooner, without me having to take him to the hospital. If mental illnesses were treated like physical ones, perhaps we’d have better medications and treatments.

    This is consistent with the state of mental illness in Canada as well. I’ve heard that Scotland (I believe) has a much more proactive approach to identifying and treating mental illness.

    The Globe and Mail wrote an extensive series
    on the poor state of affairs here, and also documented what they’ve been doing in Scotland for at least a decade now.

    Search google on globeandmail mental illness scotland for an extensive piece.

    I have a very good friend here who has a mental illness that periodically manifests itself in suicidal behaviour. My personal observations of the treatment leave a lot to be desired IMO. There seems to be a lot of study on drugs, and not a lot left over for cause or long term resolution.

  24. Joseph November 24, 2008 at 18:25 #

    Is mental illness associated with suicide independently of depression? I haven’t found any information on this, but it seems to me this would be a key research question.

  25. Schwartz November 25, 2008 at 00:12 #

    Joseph,

    I suspect you’re right, and I think almost all of the links to Mental Illness that I read touched on depression.

  26. big danny December 6, 2008 at 03:53 #

    I just want to start by saying I feel all of your pain I cannot image having a child with full blown autism, obviously I would deal with it and work with it all that I could. What I have is a misdiagnosis of a two year old by a top neurologist in our state of New Jersey, stating that our son is autistic. He is now seven and shows no signs whatsoever of autism, the diagnosis we had, pardon me, but damn near killed me and my wife. We had emotional distress, comtemplating suicide, depression. My wife became so withdrawn that she locked herself in the bedroom and practically drank herself to death and avoided my son and I at all means. We know how to appreciate how a family holds onto somebody even though they can be sick. We applaud you all!

  27. Ivar T December 6, 2008 at 22:37 #

    For us who live with autism every day it really isn’t that much of a tragedy as long as you can adjust to it. However, many parents find it startling at the moment they hear their child’s diagnosis.

  28. MM December 21, 2008 at 00:11 #

    I think many people do not understand what the parents of kids with autism go through.

    The endless crying,tandrum and inappropriate behaviors will drive parents crazy no matter how much they love the kids.

    This is a tragedy, don’t be too hard on the parents who lose their mind after years of suffering.

    The reason they want to die with their kids is that they see no future for their kids, not just for themselves.

  29. mike stanton December 21, 2008 at 02:13 #

    MM
    if you follow the link to the news report and from there to Kyle’s website you will see just how wrong you are about this case.

    This was a great kid and a dad who loved him but then bankrupted himself following quack cures – treating precocious puberty in a 12 year old!? Dad went insane not because of autism but because of lies about autism that drive parents to pursue extreme courses of action. When those courses are closed to them they have nothing left to give and so they crack.

    Just because they see no future doea not mean they have the right to kill.

  30. Bink December 21, 2008 at 16:33 #

    I agree completely with Mike. These quacks, such as ones who would diagnosis “precocious puberty” in this case, spread lies and stoke fear in whatever ways they can. It’s all about the money.

    My heart goes out to Kyle’s family.

  31. MM December 21, 2008 at 17:15 #

    Hi,
    Maybe this case is different from others but I just want people to know it’s extremely difficult to cope with the pressure of caring for autistic children sometimes, parents could just lose it no matter how much they love the kids.

    I don’t mean it’s right to kill but the parents are not cold blooded murders, they are victims too. You don’t know how it’s like. If your kids kept crying and acting out all the time with no way to stop them, you would probably go crazy someday too.

  32. Chris December 21, 2008 at 18:00 #

    MM, the two people who responded to you actually have autistic children, as does Kev the main owner of this blog. Mr. Stanton (click on his name for his website) has a grown son on the spectrum, and not only works with autistic people and has written a book on the subject.

    I would suggest you poke around the Autism-Hub to get to know the folks you are responding to a bit better.

    No on denies raising a disabled child is difficult (my son is not autistic, but has severe learning disabilities along with some other health issues)… but you seem to miss the point that the father of this child was scammed into financial ruin by fake “cures.” The real criminals were the purveyors of “cures” for fake “precocious puberty”, metal poisoning and a host of other things.

  33. mike stanton December 21, 2008 at 19:00 #

    MM
    a lot of us do know what it is like. The blog author is a parent of an autistic child. So am I and many of the commenters here. The others are autistic adults by and large. We want better services to take the pressure off parents. Things like respite care and access to speech and language therapy, training for parents and realistic information.

    Kids like Kyle get killed because the parents are told early on that there is no hope without a cure by the quacks who latch onto them and drive them to bankruptcy with expensive snake oil remedies. They hear about recovered kids who were either misdiagnosed to begin with or have developed to the extent that they are no longer eligible for services. (That is just like some of the adults here. NB not eligible is not the same as does not require. )

    And although you are right and there can never be any justification for murder, no matter how severe the challenges of raising your autistic child, it is a fact that often those murdered, like Kyle, and Katie McCarron before him are not the most severely impaired children who scream and tantrum and self injure all the the time. Even with those children, no matter how bad the situation, it is my experience that, if you are honest with parents and give them the support they need, they cope. Quacks give them misinformation, false hope and ultimate despair. That is the what drives parents over the edge. If the parents are victims they are not victims of autism. They are victims of autism’s false prophets.

  34. Mike McCarron December 21, 2008 at 21:36 #

    @ Mike Stanton, I give you a great deal of credit for providing (MM) with a calm and courteous reply. I have encountered so many who do no research, have no facts but are more than willing to use the death of a child as a back drop for posting their opinions.

  35. Joseph December 22, 2008 at 04:32 #

    I don’t mean it’s right to kill but the parents are not cold blooded murders, they are victims too. You don’t know how it’s like.

    I don’t think most people can appreciate how upsetting it is to see comments like “you don’t know what it’s like.” Damn, I hope I don’t ever have to see that again.

    And yes, they *are* cold blooded murderers.

  36. MM December 23, 2008 at 18:00 #

    Thank you for all your replies and sorry for my english, I haven’t used it a lot recently.

    I have all the respect for Mr Mike stanton and everyone here, I am just expressing my thoughts, there is no need to be hostile(this is to some people).

    Firstly, I don’t think it’s upsetting to ask for more understanding and sympathy for the parents.

    Secondly, I think autism itself can kill too, even well-informed, loving parents sometimes wish it’s the end the world, the destruction of human being when their kid are crying/tantrum non-stop. We are not saints, it’s impossible to be positive all the time.

    Finally, I think if the parents expressed negative coments/feelings to the others, people should be more supportive and understanding, if everyone blamed them, then maybe they would be more isolated and depressed, end up killing themselves and kids. That is not what we want to see.

    (I read many english books and articles about autism before but I am terrible with names, sorry for offending Mr Mike Stanton and the others here. I googled about autism to come to this blog so to tell the truth, I am not familiar with the website. This does not mean I don’t do research, I don’t think people are familiar with autism society in my country too.)

  37. mike stanton December 23, 2008 at 18:11 #

    MM
    thank you for the explanation. People who share a common language frequently misunderstand each other’s meaning. I appreciate how difficult it must be trying to participate in a discussion like this in a foreign language.

    Which country are you from and what is your conection to autism?

  38. Joseph December 23, 2008 at 21:15 #

    Firstly, I don’t think it’s upsetting to ask for more understanding and sympathy for the parents.

    In case you missed it the first time, MM, what’s upsetting is your unfounded assumption that we don’t know what it’s like. Some of us have autistic kids; very obviously autistic kids. Some of us are autistic. I’m sorry we are such an inconvenience to you.

    You can ask for understanding all you like, but I can’t help but wonder how I could possibly give “understanding” (pity really) to a parent who is by no means in any situation that could be considered worse than mine.

  39. Mike McCarron December 24, 2008 at 09:46 #

    MM

    “Firstly, I don’t think it’s upsetting to ask for more understanding and sympathy for the parents.”

    My sympathy goes to the children. You speak of endless crying and continuous tantrums, however, that apparently was not the case with these children. So now what excuse?

    There are parents raising children with far greater challenges than these children reportedly presented. Those parents do it with love everyday. They are the ones that have my understanding, my support and my admiration.

  40. Kev December 24, 2008 at 10:34 #

    MM, I am very sorry that you have been taken in by the tales of those who wish to portray autism as never ending misery. It isn’t. It is hard sometimes but that never, ever gives anyone excuse to kill another human being.

    For some more education for you please google the name of the commenter above mine, Mike McCarron and that of his grand daughter Katie McCarron.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Another Child Gone - November 21, 2008

    [...] Kev writes about 12-year-old Kyle Dutter, who was shot and killed by his father, Ryan Dutter, who then shot and killed himself, on Tuesday. Ryan Dutter had created a website about his son; he had filed for bankruptcy last fall. Kyle was in the the sixth grade at Glacier Creek Middle School in Cross Plains, Wisconsin. [...]

  2. Parents of Autistic Children May Risk "Reaching a Breaking Point," According to Denver Post - Disaboom - December 5, 2008

    [...] this the story told by the numerous murders of children with Autism in recent years? Do financial and social pressures involved in [...]

  3. Science-Based Medicine » The price of anti-vaccine fanaticism: Case histories - September 28, 2009

    [...] Fortunately, Warner failed to kill herself. Likely, she really did want to live and didn’t hit herself on the head as hard as she thought. Also fortunately, it’s really pretty difficult to kill oneself that way, given how hard the skull is and how painful it is to hit oneself on the head repeatedly with a hard object. That she even tried to do it, however, signals just how much the guilt that the “biomed” movement engenders in parents, in essence blaming them for having caused their children’s autism by having them vaccinated, can add to the already considerable life stresses that raising such children can produce. Moreover, it’s not hard to imagine that parents, after having come to the end of all that “biomed” has to offer with no improvement in their children, could enter a deep and profound depression, full of despair, to the point that suicide starts to look like the only way out. After all, in the “biomed” world, not only did these parents cause their children’s autism, but they’ve failed to cure it. It’s not so unreasonable to speculate that such guilt could even lead to murder-suicide. [...]

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