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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: 323
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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

Jun. 25th, 2016

On-Yu Choy

Name: On-Yu Choy.
Died: June 25, 2014.
Age at death: 15.
Cause of death: Murder (Stabbed).
Location: Hong Kong, China.

Details:
On-Yu lived with his brother and parents. He was autistic and had trouble communicating.

With his mother gone to the Chinese mainland on a business trip, On-yu’s father killed him by stabbing him more than 100 times with a pair of kitchen knives. The killer reasoned that “if he is gone, the whole family will have peace”.

On-yu had a ten-year-old brother, who was not home at the time and was not hurt.

The killer pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison.

References:
Man, 61, kills autistic teenage son because he felt burden was ‘tough for the whole family'
Jobless father pleads guilty to killing 'burden' autistic son
A martyr for his family? Hong Kong court jails father four years for killing autistic son

Jun. 21st, 2016

Lane Lesko

Photo of Lane Lesko, a young man with fair skin and brown hair, wearing a denim shirt.Name: Lane Lesko
Died: June 21, 2016
Age at death: 19
Cause of death: Police shooting
Location: Peterborough, New Hampshire, USA

Details:
Lane had graduated from high school a semester ahead of time and wanted to go to college to study political science. In his spare time, he did volunteer work at his synagogue, at a local homeless shelter, and at a nature and science camp. At school he was a delegate for his Model UN and started a club for Jewish students.

But he had autism and bipolar disorder and had gotten into trouble with the law during manic episodes. When he was seventeen years old, he went to a car dealership and asked to test-drive a car, saying he was an FBI agent; then he drove off with the car, which he crashed. When police arrived at the scene of the accident, he told them he was an FBI agent too. Later, out on bail for that crime, Lane broke into a neighbor's house.

Instead of being jailed, Lane was sent to a wilderness program for troubled teens. But Lane managed to escape the program, stealing a canoe, then a pontoon boat, and finally a truck.

Police tracked him down and chased him. When he crashed the truck, he tried to run away, but police shot him and killed him. He was holding only a BB gun.

Lane leaves behind two mothers and a younger brother. The shooting was ruled as justified.

References:
Michigan teen shot to death by police was finally getting the help he needed, family says
Lane Lesko Obituary - Southfield, MI
Lane Lesko dealt with bipolar disorder before his death, mother says
Authorities identify 19-year-old fatally shot by police
Authorities Identify 19-Year-Old Fatally Shot By Police In Peterborough, NH
Authorities: Man killed in Peterborough incident was 19-year-old from Michigan
Deceased man in Peterborough shooting had troubled past
Man shot by police in Peterborough identified as missing Mich. man
Mich. man killed by police in Peterborough had history of car theft, impersonating FBI
Michiganian teen shot by New Hampshire police identified
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript - AG’s office to conduct investigation
New Hampshire AG to issue report on police shooting death of Ann Arbor man
Officials identify man killed in officer-involved shooting in Peterborough
Officials: Missing Camper Possibly Ran Away
Officials: Missing teen likely connected with stolen truck, pontoon boat at Lake Umbagog
Police in Maine seek Ann Arbor teen recently accused of posing as FBI agent
Police looking for man who disappeared during camping trip
Report: Ann Arbor teen dead after police-involved shooting in New Hampshire
Search crews seek teen missing from New Hampshire campground
Search underway for Umbagog runaway believed to have taken truck and boat
Shooting victim’s identity released
Teen Killed in Peterborough Accused of Posing as an FBI Agent

Tammara Killam

Name: Tammara Killam.
Died: June 21, 2016.
Age at death: 25.
Cause of death: Fatal neglect.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Details:
Tammara and her twin sister Brooke, who was also autistic and intellectually disabled, were left alone in an RV by their father. The women had no power or water and had been given nothing but bread and water to eat for a week. They were left without air conditioning or access to water in the 122-degree desert heat. Their father had given them cell phones, but the phones no longer worked.

Tammara died of dehydration; Brooke survived.

Source:
Woman dies after father leaves her in Laughlin RV with no power
Father held in death of daughter left overnight in sweltering RV in Laughlin

Jun. 20th, 2016

Aaron Pajich

Portrait photo of Aaron Pajich, a young man with light skin and brown hair, wearing a black polo shirt with blue trim.Name: Aaron Pajich
Died: June 13, 2016; body found June 20, 2016
Age at death: 18
Cause of death: Murder
Location: Perth, Australia

Details:
Aaron was a "kind and gentle soul" who was "very trusting", his family says. He loved computers and gaming.

Aaron enjoyed school. He was religious, going to church regularly and having "given himself to the Lord". His parents were divorced, so he lived with his mother and visited his father and stepmother regularly. He "respected life" and could be depended on to help his family.

Aaron Pajich disappeared after going to meet two women, one of whom was a schoolmate, which he had met on a gaming website. His body was found days later, buried under a concrete slab in their backyard. The women, who evidently lured him to the house and killed him within hours, have been arrested and charged with murder.

His family held a vigil, releasing balloons and lighting candles for Aaron.

References:
Aaron Pajich murder: Two women in court, buried under concrete slab
Aaron Pajich with Asperger’s from Perth may have been 'killed on day he went missing'
Aaron Pajich: Women charged with murder of teenager found buried in backyard appear in court
Australian police find body of Aaron Pajich; two women charged with murder
Body of an 18-year-old with Asperger's syndrome was found in a shallow grave
Police find body of 18-year-old Aaron Pajich; charge two women with murder
Teenage murder victim Aaron Pajich fondly farewelled at Rockingham funeral service

Jun. 19th, 2016

Kevin Wilkes

Photo of Kevin Wilkes, in profile. He is an African-American man with a buzz cut, wearing a checkered shirt.Name: Kevin D'Juan Wilkes
Died: June 19, 2016
Age at death: 32
Cause of death: Abuse; long-term bullying
Location: Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Details:
Kevin lived in an assisted-living facility, and one of the other residents there had a habit of bullying him. The other man, a large man who weighed about 300 pounds, would sit on him. Police had been summoned on at least one other occasion, and the other resident had been seen punching Kevin and dragging him around.

Apparently, no effort was made to keep the bully away from Kevin, because the agency kept them housed together. It should have been foreseeable that eventually, Kevin would be hurt, but nobody did anything until one day, staff saw that the bully was sitting on Kevin again, and Kevin wasn't moving. By the time they got the other resident off Kevin, he had stopped breathing. Kevin was taken to the hospital and died there.

Kevin leaves behind a grandmother, who remembers him as "loving... he wouldn't hurt a fly."

References:
Disabled man charged in roommate's death
Disabled man dies after alleged abuse from other resident at Westside nursing home: Police
Grandmother of disabled man heartbroken after his death
Man accused of abuse after disabled man dies
Mentally disabled Jacksonville man arrested in death of man at same care facility

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