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Jul. 23rd, 2013

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Rainbow infinityAutism Memorial is dedicated to remembering those autistic people who died because of malpractice, lack of resources or support, or outright murder. Occasionally, a news story will be widely covered, but most cases receive very little memorial. Even when an autistic person is murdered by a family member and it becomes a big news story, the autistic person often becomes lost amidst sympathy for the murderer. This site is here because everyone should be valued, and everyone should be remembered.

FAQ                                               Total Memorials: 330
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Aug. 29th, 2016

Leslie Ramirez

Name: Leslie Ramirez.
Died: August 29, 2016.
Age at death: 3.
Cause of death: Heat stroke.
Location: Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Details:
Leslie was one of five siblings. They lived with their parents and grandmother.

Leslie's mother left her in the family van at 3 p.m. on a summer day. At 7 p.m., Leslie's father returned home to find her still in the van four hours later. She was dead.

Her mother was charged with manslaughter and child neglect.

References:
Mother of autistic girl found dead in a hot van insists it was an accident
Mother charged in death of 3-year-old daughter in Durham

Austin Anderson

Photo of Austin Anderson, a thin boy with fair skin and dark blond hair. He is holding a hand near his face and smiling.Name: Austin Anderson.
Died: August 29, 2016.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Medical neglect, exposure, dehydration.
Location: Aldrich, Missouri, USA.

Details:
In addition to autism, Austin was blind in both eyes and had adrenal insufficiency, so that he depended on steroid medication to replace the hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands.

Austin’s mother got high on meth and took him out to a field in the middle of nowhere. For two days, she withheld his food, water, and medication in the summer heat while Austin begged for her help and she refused to help him. He died from dehydration and from being refused the medication he needed to live.

His mother was charged with second-degree murder and abuse of an elderly or disabled person.

References:
Woman from Aldrich is charged with murdering son found in field
'I killed my kid:' Polk County mother charged after death of blind, autistic teen
‘Let God take you’: Woman said she left her blind, autistic son in field until he died, police say
Friend speaks about mother accused of murdering her son
Bolivar Woman Charged With Killing Disabled Son

Aug. 23rd, 2016

(Boy) Leung

Name: (Mr.) Leung.
Died: August 23, 2016.
Age at death: 14.
Cause of death: Accident (Fall from window).
Location: Hong Kong, China.

Details:
Young Mr. Leung, whose first name is not known, was staying in a rehabilitation facility. The facility had a questionable history; its director had been twice accused and then acquitted of indecent assault on the patients.

Leung had called his father and begged to come home, but his father could not take him home. He was becoming more and more depressed.

The fourteen-year-old sneaked into a vacant room on the fourth floor of the building and removed the window grille. Then he climbed out the window, possibly trying to escape or to commit suicide. He slipped and fell out the window to his death.

References:
Autistic boy falls to death from care facility in Kwai Chung
Autistic boy, 14, falls to his death from Hong Kong home for disabled

Aug. 20th, 2016

Deonn Carter

Name: Deonn Carter.
Died: August 20, 2016.
Age at death: 31.
Cause of death: Murder (Shot; during armed robbery).
Location: Columbus, Georgia, USA.

Details:
Deonn was diagnosed with autism in the mid-1980s, and his mother was told to put him in an institution. She refused, and Deonn grew up with his family. At six or seven, he began using words to communicate. At eight, he was using sentences. He played Special Olympics baseball as a first baseman. He graduated high school.

As an adult, Deonn worked as a bagger at a Piggly Wiggly's grocery store. Deonn loved wearing suits; every year, he bought a new one.

Consistently outgoing and friendly, Deonn knew everyone. He was especially fond of the police, firefighters, and EMTs in his town. He called the police and fire stations every week or so, just to chat and to encourage the officers. He knew all their names and their families, and had even memorized their schedules. Though he couldn't become a police officer himself because of his disability, Deonn was well-loved by his local police force and had been made an honorary member of the police department's motor squad.

He was a deacon at his church. He remembered birthdays and anniversaries without fail. His pastor says of Deonn, "He had no fear or boundaries of love and getting close to people... He just would love anyone, and he had a boldness about him to get to know people."

Deonn was outside his own home, getting the mail, when five men accosted him and stole his phone. One of them shot him in the leg. Emergency services were called, and the police and paramedics came to rescue Deonn. They got him stable and safely to the hospital. During the next eleven days, Deonn received constant visits from his police and fireman friends.

It seemed as though Deonn would survive, but unfortunately, Deonn's injury caused a blood clot which traveled to his lungs and killed him eleven days after the shooting. Before his unexpected death, his last Facebook post had stated simply, "I love everybody."

Deonn's funeral was attended by hundreds of his friends, including the public safety personnel he so loved. His pastor eulogized, “God chose him in his mother’s womb to teach people in this city of Columbus, Georgia, and around the world, how to love everybody and point people to Jesus Christ, and my, my, my, did he do a wonderful job." At his funeral, he was designated an honorary firefighter and chaplain, and four bells were rung--the signal to firefighters that means, "The fire's out; the job's done; you can go home."

All five of the men who robbed and shot Deonn have been arrested.

References:
Police, firefighters save autistic shooting victim
Police, firefighters shocked to discover shooting victim is autistic friend
Austic shooting victim Deonn Carter loved by Columbus police and firefighters dies from complications after being shot in the leg
Autistic man dies after being shot in a robbery
Deonn Carter passes away, shot during armed robbery on Aug. 9
Deonn Carter, the autistic man beloved by firefighters and police officers, dies more than a week after being shot in an armed robbery attempt.
Deonn Carter autistic shooting victim draws hundreds of public safety personnel to Cascades Hills Church for funeral
Support Deonn Carter! God is good!!
Second man arrested on murder charge in death of Deonn Carter
Two arrested, three wanted in Deonn Carter murder case
Police arrest 2, search for 3 in connection to Deonn Carter murder
2 arrested in connection with autistic man’s death
Three suspects sought in Deonn Carter’s murder case
Here are the two suspects still at large in Deonn Carter’s murder case
Fourth suspect arrested in Deonn Carter murder case
Police arrest final suspects in Deonn Carter murder

Aug. 18th, 2016

Joseph Weber

Photo of Joey Weber. He is standing outdoors near a pond, holding a fishing rod with a fish hanging from it. Joey is a young man with short brown hair and fair skin, wearing a T-shirt and jeans.Name: Joseph Nathaniel "Joey" Weber.
Died: August 18, 2016.
Age at death: 36.
Cause of death: Police shooting.
Location: Hays, Kansas, USA.

Details:
Joey Weber was an active member of his community. He was a church member and in the Knights of Columbus. Along with other people in New Age Services, a social group for people with disabilities, he worked at Joe Bob Outfitters.

Joey had a driver's license and was out driving one day. He probably broke a traffic rule, because the police tried to stop him. But being stopped by the police was an unfamiliar situation Joey did not know how to handle. Luckily, he was on the same street as the New Age Services building. Confused and having trouble communicating, Joey drove down the street and toward the New Age Services building, where he knew he could get help.

However, police saw only a man who was refusing to obey their commands and driving away from their officers. They called for backup. When Joey arrived at the building and got out of his car, they shot him. At the time, Joey Weber was probably upset and confused, but he was unarmed.

His friends held a candlelight vigil for him. It was attended by over 100 people from his community.

References:
Cops Kill Speech Impaired Autistic Man Trying to Find Safety in Home for People with Disabilities
Thursday night vigil held in Hays for Weber peaceful, respectful

Aug. 1st, 2016

Angel Alicea-Estrada

Name: Angel Alicea-Estrada.
Died: August 1, 2016.
Age at death: 58.
Cause of death: Murder-Suicide.
Location: Sarasota, Florida, USA.

Details:
Angel was 58 and living with his elderly mother. They used to go for walks around the neighborhood.

Angel's mother poisoned him and herself with chemicals from drain opener. They died from inhaling poisonous gas.

Perpetrator: Gertrudis Cintron (Mother).

Source:
2 die due to apparent murder suicide
Bizarre twist in death of mother and son in Sarasota
Death of Sarasota woman, son after inhaling drain opener chemicals appears to be murder-suicide
Deaths of elderly mother and adult son believed to be murder-suicide
Mother, special needs son dead after apparent murder-suicide
Murder-Suicide Suspected in Sarasota Chemical Exposure Deaths
Sarasota hazmat incident a suspected murder-suicide

Jul. 24th, 2016

Abdirahman Abdi

Photo of Abdirahman Abdi, a man with very dark skin and short curly black hair. He is wearing a white T-shirt and has earbuds in his ears.Name: Abdirahman Abdi.
Died: July 24, 2016.
Age at death: 37.
Cause of death: Death in police custody; during beating/restraint.
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Details:
Abdirahman was a Somali-Canadian Muslim. Along with his family, he had traveled to Canada as a refugee from Ethiopia in 2009.

Abdi kept to himself. He was shy, especially around women or people he didn't know well. He had worked at a car wash, but lost the job when the business shut down.

On the day he died, Abdi went to a coffee shop he often visited. He approached a couple sitting at a table and began to talk to them, then reached out toward the woman to shake her hand. When she drew back, Abdi left, and she called the police, apparently unnerved by his odd behavior and thinking that Abdi had intended to assault her.

Police arrived and Abdi ran from them, trying to get home. They chased and caught him, using batons and pepper spray and beating him with fists and billy clubs. Abdi began begging, but he spoke in Somali and the police could not understand him and most likely did not care to listen even if they could have understood. A bystander tried to tell the police that Abdi was mentally disabled, not a criminal, but because he was also Somali, he translated the Somali "mentally ill" incorrectly and told the police officer that Abdi was "a crazy man". What he had meant to say was that Abdi was only confused, not a criminal; the officer heard that Abdi was dangerous. Despite the bystanders' attempts to help and Abdi's pleading, the officers continued to hit him.

Abdi passed out from the beating after about ten minutes, and instead of administering first aid, the officers handcuffed him. Another ten minutes passed before they tried CPR, but Abdi was already dead. An ambulance was called to take his body to the hospital, leaving blood stains on the pavement.

Abdi's probable autism was never publicly acknowledged because people from Somalia, where he comes from, often don't openly talk about mental health. Socially awkward and disabled, he always greeted people with the exact same "Hi, how are you today?" He was polite and quiet. He was variously described as "mentally ill", "mentally disabled", and "autistic".

Abdi's Somali Muslim community has held vigils and protests and placed memorials to him. They report they have become more afraid of police since Abdi died.

"He was very nice, very peaceful," a local shopkeeper said. "I think he will go to heaven."

References:
Man near death after police beating: Witnesses
Mentally disabled Somali-Canadian dies during violent arrest
'All of us are hurting': Abdirahman Abdi mourned at funeral
‘We are scared of the police’: Community reels after Abdirahman Abdi’s death
2 officers under investigation in death of Ottawa man identified
Witnesses recount Abdirahman Abdi's 'gruesome' encounter with Ottawa police before his death
Death of black man in Canada after arrest sparks race debate
Let death of Abdirahman Abdi be last of its kind
More focus needed on mental health after Abdirahman Abdi’s death, advocates say
SIU investigates after man critically injured in police incident
Vigil held in Montreal for Abdirahman Abdi, who died after struggle with Ottawa police

Jul. 19th, 2016

Alexis Wartena

Photo of Alexis Wartena. She is a small girl with fair skin and light blonde hair. She is wearing a white graduation cap and black-and-white polka-dotted dress.Name: Alexis Wartena.
Died: July 19, 2016.
Age at death: 7.
Cause of death: Accidental drowning.
Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA.

Details:
When Alexis went missing, her parents called police for help. But instead of helping the family search, the police detained her family and questioned them. When the search was finally started, Alexis was found dead, drowned in a nearby pond.

Editor's note: To say I found this case unusual is an understatement. In the typical autistic wandering/drowning death, the police don't suspect the family--so much so that some killers have tried to disguise a murder as a wandering/drowning death. But in this case, the police suspected the family so strongly that they delayed the search for Alexis until she was already dead. Whether the police's delay in searching for Alexis while questioning her family was responsible for her death, or whether it just caused distress to the family, cannot be known for sure. Regardless, even though they suspected the family, they should have run the search simultaneously with the questioning, not delayed it. When an autistic child goes missing, time is of the essence.

References: Texas Police Detain Family who Called for Help Instead of Searching for Missing Autistic Girl who Later was Found Drowned

Jun. 28th, 2016

Ty Lee

Photo of Ty Lee. He is a boy with medium-brown skin and curly black hair, wearing a hot pink T-shirt.Name: Ty Lee.
Died: June 28, 2016.
Age at death: 11.
Cause of death: Neglect.
Location: Morrow, Georgia, USA.

Details:
Ty's stepfather took him out of his wheelchair and put him in a bathtub full of water; then he left the bathroom to smoke a joint in the garage. Ty couldn't keep his head above water, and drowned.

Source:
DFCS may take kids from mother of drowned boy
Drowned boy’s mom arrested, accused of obstruction
Georgia man charged with murder for stepson's bathtub drowning
Man accused of drowning stepson denied bond
Man charged with murder after disabled stepson drowns in bathtub
Michael Smith to face murder trial in death of son
Morrow man charged with murder in connection with drowning of autistic child
Murder case to move forward for teacher charged in stepson’s drowning
Stepdad charged in bathtub drowning of autistic son
Stepfather jailed after stepson with autism drowns in bathtub
Teacher accused of drowning autistic stepson in Clayton County
Wife of suspect in 11-year-old's bathtub drowning death says it was just an accident

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