London McCabe’s mother pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison

24 Feb

London McCabe was a young autistic boy. News reports say he loved hats and pictures of him show him as a smiling beautiful kid (all kids are beautiful, by the way). He only lived to age six. He was murdered when his mother threw him off a bridge. Yes, threw him off a bridge.

That was 2014. Many of us have worried that his mother would try the “raising an autistic kid is too much” defense. So I, for one, am relieved that she plead guilty. This doesn’t bring back London. This isn’t really justice. But this is the next best step in moving forward. I wish his family well. If I lost a kid, I don’t think any court proceeding would bring closure, but a lack of a sentence would make things worse.

You can read more at Mom who threw 6-year-old son from Yaquina Bay Bridge sentenced to life in prison

In Mom planned to throw son off Yaquina Bay Bridge, hoped to be found guilty but insane, DA says, we read:

McCabe pleaded guilty to murder Monday in Lincoln County Circuit Court and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

The mother has shown no remorse for the death of her son, Branam said. She appeared happy in jail, didn’t mention her son’s name for months and gleefully discussed the books she’d read while behind bars.

Internet search history from October 2014 included inquiries by McCabe on the chances of surviving a fall into water from 133 feet — the height of the Yaquina Bay Bridge — as well as searches on an insanity defense and news stories on parents who have thrown their children from bridges, Branam said.

But also,

Matt McCabe said the loss of his son has left a large void in his life. He said the sentencing of his now-ex-wife brings him no closure.

“I will miss my son forever,” he said.

and, from Woman gets life in prison after son thrown from bridge

“I can’t say enough about this boy,” the ex-husband said Tuesday. “He was my pride and joy. He was the center of my attention; his loss leaves a black hole in the center of my life.

“If you know an autistic individual, he needs love, too. Maybe more than you and I.”

By Matt Carey

18 Responses to “London McCabe’s mother pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison”

  1. Chris Hickie February 24, 2016 at 14:13 #

    I wish “life sentence” was truly life. This person will be eligible for parole in 25 years.

    • wzrd1 February 25, 2016 at 03:09 #

      There are a sparse few cases where I do believe that the death penalty is appropriate.
      This most certainly is.
      That is something that I very, very rarely say.
      Still, it may just be my hyperthyroid speaking and I’m seeing the endocrinologist tomorrow.

  2. Stephen H February 25, 2016 at 08:35 #

    Is it just my imagination, or does this woman’s description imply autism?

    • Chris February 25, 2016 at 15:34 #

      No, it implies a child murdering trying to fake insanity.

      • Chris February 25, 2016 at 15:46 #

        Meant “child murderer.” Need more coffee.

      • Stephen H February 28, 2016 at 09:04 #

        Chris, I am sorry, but I am unable to respond to your latest reply (presumably there are no infinite turtles here ( Instead, I am going to respond to this one, and hope you are the same Chris. This is in response to the comment time-stamped February 28, 2016 at 07:54.

        I want to be very clear about this – in no way am I suggesting that autism is an excuse OR a reason for bad behaviour. There is NO excuse for killing your own child (actually, there are a few, but none of them apply here), and certainly even if the mother is on the spectrum I do not see that as excusing a murder.

        My point is that her described behaviour in court and in prison MAY be attributable to an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This makes sense, in that ASDs have a genetic link. It may explain the article text “The mother has shown no remorse for the death of her son, Branam said. She appeared happy in jail…”.

        Explain – NOT excuse. And it does not explain the murder.

        My apologies if my statements here have caused confusion. Additionally, I apologise if I am responding to the wrong Chris.

        Finally, does anyone here know if there are any formatting choices for comments? Underlining, bold etc. are very useful in providing some context to one’s written words.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 29, 2016 at 00:52 #

        We have so little information about her behavior that claiming it is “autism” is just ridiculous.

        She claimed to be hearing voices. Not autism.

        Her behavior included looking up ways to get away with murder. Not autism.

        Her behavior included researching how a fall from a tall bridge would kill her child (very sadly, it didn’t. He drowned). Not autism.

        One can use simple text formatting tags. without spaces, for example, starts bold. ends it.

        Back to the point–no, her behavior doesn’t indicate autism at all. And your lack of any substance to your statement other than “My point is that her described behaviour in court and in prison MAY be attributable to an Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

        Murder. She murdered her child. She planned the murder. How is that anything like autism?

      • wzrd1 February 29, 2016 at 02:09 #

        Hearing voices could indicate psychosis, however her detailed planning and investigating how to commit murder belies any psychosis.
        Indeed, some of her behavior suggests possible sociopathy, but again, that does not provide any legal excuse. She committed premeditated murder.

        We need a new punishment for such people. Perhaps, revive an ancient punishment – the stripping of their name, prohibiting their name being ever mentioned again and deletion from all records of that person’s name. A mother that kills her own child deserves to be forgotten immediately.

      • Chris February 29, 2016 at 04:58 #

        Stephan H: “My apologies if my statements here have caused confusion. Additionally, I apologise if I am responding to the wrong Chris.”

        One of my “triggers” are those who assume that because my son has a developmental disorder that he is also violent. I have had many encounters with those people over the past twenty five years, and I very much dislike that notion. More than once I had to explain his speech/language disability was not a diagnosis for “violent.”

        One of the worst was when I wrote one of our state’s senators to the US Senate to support funding of special education only to get a reply that the disabled were causing increased violence in schools. This was right after I had been to meeting where our school district’s superintendent explained that school violence was at an all time low. I really hate politicians who lie.

        The most amusing one was when I was at a playground with my son and a mother who I knew from my son’s school announced they were working to rid the school of its special education program. I told her my son was in that program. She asked me who he was, and I pointed him out as the little boy nicely playing with her son. The look on her face was priceless.

        The most happy one was when at a PTA meeting I asked why people were trying to get rid that specific special ed. program that hardly affected anyone (but not the deaf/hard of hearing program!). And then the principal spoke up and said “Yeah, I would really like to know that too!”

        And the best schadenfreude moment came when the younger son of one of the parents who campaigned against my son’s program ended up needing the services from the school’s OT/PT. She then became one of supporters of making the new playground disability accessible, something I pushed since I was helping to design it (former life I was an engineer, and actually had Computer Aided Design software).

    • strawman February 27, 2016 at 23:18 #

      The mother is a murdering



      1.a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. People with autism are not spiteful, hateful, or mean. Autism is not a perjorative to be used for every nasty or villainous behavior.

      • wzrd1 February 28, 2016 at 01:37 #

        With respect, some autistic people could be spiteful, as spiteful behavior is well within the spectrum of all human behavior traits.
        More simply, people are people, despite where within the spectrum of human behavior that they find themselves in.

      • Strawman February 28, 2016 at 03:10 #

        Correct. Spitefulness is not part of the criteria for the diagnosis of autism. Everyone is an individual. It just seems sad that many times autism is blamed for personality disorders. It has been given a bad reputation. Autism Speaks has a video that shows one parent saying she wants to drive off a bridge with her child. Maybe London’s mother thought that people would understand why she did the unspeakable.

      • wzrd1 February 28, 2016 at 04:07 #

        Alas, it isn’t mothers of autistic children who murder their children or murder-suicide. Mothers and fathers have done so, purely over financial stress.
        What kind of mindset is involved that could cause a parent to ever consider murdering their child? How could they see things as so bleak as to ever even consider such a horrific act?
        Why can’t these parents reach out for help from family and friends? Instead, they hide their problems, their pain and their fears and some eventually do the unconscionable.
        I can’t comprehend that mindset. I can comprehend the action and that such a mindset exists, but in my half century and change of life, which includes times of privation while raising children, real life and death struggles in the military, I honestly cannot comprehend such a mindset.

      • Stephen H February 28, 2016 at 03:57 #

        My comment was not intended to suggest that autistic people have no empathy, or are sociopathic. I am an Aspie, and I have plenty of empathy – but I do not necessarily display it in the same way others might, and this can result in confusion about me and my motives.

        Please don’t read your own interpretation into what was a fairly clear comment about the description of the woman. And at the other end of the scale, don’t assume that all autistic people are utter sweetness and light.

        You may want to Google Lindy Chamberlain, and read a bit about how and why she was convicted, before jumping onto the “she shows no remorse so she must be a cold-blooded killer” band-wagon.

        Next, consider that an autism spectrum diagnosis includes assessing whether an individual fails to display, or displays inappropriate emotions.

        Then return to my question, and consider “…does this woman’s description imply autism?”. Perhaps I should have phrased it better: “Does the description here, of someone who shows no emotion or inappropriate emotion, imply autism?”

        So much for my attempt to ask a short question and seek THOUGHTFUL input; the responses to date have totally failed to consider how this woman is described – the very purpose of my question. Instead, they have been totally reactionary and defensive. PLEASE THINK!

      • wzrd1 February 28, 2016 at 04:44 #

        I’ve known quite a few Aspies in my life, after retiring from the military, I went into IT and that field is quite loaded with Aspies. That’s both good and annoying, good for the creativity and comprehension, bad if management doesn’t know the people and distraction points and is hence, incapable of recognizing when a tangent is being engaged in.
        Things get more interesting when an Aspie is a supervisor or manager. Things suddenly change or act odd and that leader was driving a change unannounced.
        I’ve also had some experience with, what in the NSA is referred to as “wall huggers”, further down the spectrum people who were previously called idiot savants. I found no idiocy, just difficulties in expressing themselves, but the best mathematicians and programmers alive – with difficulties in interaction. With patience, one can learn how to effectively interact with such wonderful people.
        I refuse to call them assets, as *all* personnel are assets, each in his or her different way.

        I also think differently than the main spectrum of humanity, I’m measured as a genius and am dyslexic. The dyslexia lets me see through camouflage well – I see eyes and unnatural shapes as easily as I see print, perhaps that is a survival advantage for that trait.
        Intelligence is its own survival advantage.
        I’ve even developed a kind of sociopathic skill, dealing medically with close friends that are mortally injured. One learns that or one becomes insane, under military conditions and that does indeed happen. One still cares, but that is suborned, lest a friend suffer or die needlessly.
        So, I have, perhaps, a unique experience base. Dealing with above average intelligence people in Special Forces and dealing with the entire spectrum of human intelligence on a daily basis in the field in the military, in life and subsequent employment.
        I’ve learned through those daily interactions, the entire spectrum of humanity, from the most handicapped on my wife’s school bus, through the greatest geniuses on the planet.
        My conclusion has been and remains, there are *no* disposable people.
        That said, it seems that some want to discard people, simply upon the consideration of expense.
        Is not prohibiting the expense of caring of one who is different a reinvention of the disgraced field of eugenics? Haven’t we discarded eugenics in favor of biodiversity causing increased strength of the species?

        Note; if I seem distracted, I am only on my second day of treatment for Grave’s disease. Life also intrudes between a paragraph or so, marriage and all for over three decades. 🙂

      • Chris February 28, 2016 at 07:54 #

        Stephen H: “I am an Aspie, and I have plenty of empathy – but I do not necessarily display it in the same way others might, and this can result in confusion about me and my motives.”

        This I understand because it reflects my oldest son’s attitudes. He is autistic but is a vegetarian because of his love of animals. He is a great house sitter because not only does he bring in the mail and newspaper, he also takes care of the cats.

        He mostly has issues with communication (he could not speak as three year old, while he speaks now it is not quite :”normal” even after more than a decade of speech/language therapy), social interaction and anxiety. Due to his lack of language or speech by age three he would never have been diagnosed with Asperger’s (though the psychologist said it was alright if he described himself informally as an Aspie). Please don’t judge my son from his speech deficits, he does have normal intelligence.

        I am sorry that my reply distressed you. But her child exhibited many of my son’s behaviors. Now I understand his random laughter, even though is was quite delightful, was at inappropriate times… I still do not understand why it would be cause one to commit murder.

        My son is difficult in many ways, and he has fallen through many cracks because he is not violent (he mostly reacts by not doing anything). I am his advocate. I just fired a job vendor for non-contact for several months (plus making his first “job” pulling weeds at a park even though he is literate and has an AA degree from a communty college!). The new agency is trying to make him his own advocate by having him learn about the American Disabilities Act.

        My son has educated me on many things. Unlike the murderer described in this article, I am willing to learn how to help him and give a future.

        My “go to phrase” when dealing with any agency is “I have no idea what I am doing, please help me.” So if you have any advice on what to do, I am will to try. Though one thing I will not do is murder my own kid.

  3. strawman March 6, 2016 at 16:23 #

    I don’t assume that people with autism are utter sweetness and light and I have thought about this. A child of 16 has recently been diagnosed with autism. He has a history of violence when he doesn’t get his way. He has a high IQ. There has never been any consequences for his actions, other than been kicked out of schools. They finally got him the help he needs. Is incorrigibility a part of autism? I don’t think so but what do I know. There is a poem by Robert Blake about innocence and its intention is to help us understand that we are only here on this earth for a very short time. And so we should use what precious time we have to care for each other, to respect the beauty of nature, to protect the rights of all, to treasure the beliefs and the dreams of our children, to develop empathy for those of us who are disadvantaged, and to consider the consequences of greed and conceit. It reminds me of the many who have worked so hard to control their impulses and the need for what they want “right now.” This includes those who pay attention to detail and are soothed by the twirling of a thread.

    To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

    And Eternity in an hour.

    • strawman March 6, 2016 at 17:00 #

      Sorry, I meant William Blake ! I have been accused in my lifetime of sentimentality.

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