Autistic Boy's 'Disappearance' Could Be Best Thing to Happen to Him

Heartbreaking 44

Christina MilliganIt's one of those stories where you don't know whether to cry or cheer. A mother in Sacramento reported her 9-year-old autistic son missing, but when cops showed up to hear her story, they apparently found the boy in a bedroom of her absolutely filthy apartment.

It makes you question Christina Milligan's sanity for sure. How could she not know her child was right there? And what was she doing with him in an apartment that cops say was teeming with cockroaches, dirty diapers, trash scattered around and reeking of urine?

Horrifying. And yet ...

Cops came, didn't they?

They got this poor child out of there. He's now in the hands of Sacramento County Child Protective Services along with his sibling, while his mom is cooling her heels in jail.

It's the happiest ending you can get out of something so awful. This boy was allegedly found soaked in his own urine. And although we don't know where he was on the spectrum, the fact that cops made it a point to tell media that he was autistic means it's highly possible that he didn't have the means, at 9, to get himself out of those clothes or out of that awful situation.

There are many who think kids with autism are more likely to be victims of child abuse because their difficulty with social situations makes them less aware that they should be telling someone of their abuse. And of course kids on the spectrum who are non-verbal or have limited communication skills simply CAN'T tell anyone.

So let's look at this case again. We have a child stuck in squalor with a mother whose mental health or intelligence are questionable at best -- at least when you consider her odd call to police.

Was her call to the cops a blessing in disguise?


Image via Sacramento County Sheriff's Department

autism, child abuse


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tuffy... tuffymama

With the amount of FREE help available (well, free to most while the rest of us foot the bill) in this day and age, there is no excuse for shit like this to happen. From the outside, it seems either that woman is deranged and unfit to parent, or she's just a lazy sack of crap and unfit to parent. I wonder at the actual story. I hope that boy is removed permanently and adopted or fostered by people who love and care for him. His life needs a reset button, and his mother's probably does, too.


Obviously the mother is not right in the head and that call possibly saved them both.

MaryC... MaryCimino

You'll be amazed how many people don't BELIEVE you when you say you're mom is nuts. I'm a COH (Child of a Hoarder) so I feel for the kids. I know what it's like to see your mom is nuts and I can only imagine being autistic and not being able to say it aloud. I'm glad he got out, not all of us are lucky. Best thing this kids needs is a safe environment and possibly therapy.

LoveM... LoveMyKBabies

Anyone else wondering if she just didn't want to be a mom anymore? One sure way of losing your kids, have a disgusting house & call the cops (who have to report you) to the house. While she needs help...I like the outcome of this 'autistic child' story more than the last one I read on here. At least this boy will have a chance at a happy, healthy life now.

sunmo... sunmoonandstar

Tuffy, in my experience you can't just ask for this free help and magically get it. You have to be crazier than crazy and/or abusive/neglectful to get any help. So maybe lovemykbabies is on to something.

Rando... Randomlady

People keep saying that all these parents can just get help like it's that easy. I have been trying to get respite for nearly a year and I still don't have it, I can tell you it's not easy and you have to be so very adamant about calling them and filling out paperwork, etc. it is a job in itself somedays. And did you know that many autistic kids just like to escape? Like it's what they do, especially lower functioning ones, my house looks nearly like a prison because of it, we have the windows locked, doors locked with a guard over the knobs and gates everywhere. And then I just want to put it out there that autistic kids don't know that they are being abused, I can only talk about the low functioning ones here but they just don't know. Even if they are hurt they don't seem to realize it unless you make a deal out of it. I helps with a low functioning 4 year old and when a cat would scratch him and draw blood unless he saw it he wouldn't react, not even bat an eyelash.

Noahs... Noahs-Mom

I have two boys they just turned 5 and 6yo. They are both autistic. For the Mother to treat your child like this when they can't help themselves is sick.

IzzyB... IzzyBashir

Ironically enough, now that the police are involved maybe she will some help. Mental health services in this country are almost non-existent unless you try to commit suicide (I think you get three hosptial evaluation with a possible 14 day in-patient treatment program) or do something so horrible the police get involved. If you fall in that grey area where you are not a threat to yourself or others you won't get a thing. Either way, I wish all involved the best.

nonmember avatar 3isenough

@tuffy....see this is the problem. the first thing out of your mouth isn't that you hope that the child gets help but that YOU have to pay for it. the problem with a lot of people in society is that blame is put on people who need help and more blame is placed on people who have the nerve to accept it.

SueMN... SueMNanaMama

In Sacramento, where I live, there is tons of free help for autism. But the parents have to do the footwork to get it, and I get the feeling that mom was just too overwhelmed to step up.  Perhaps she has her own developmental and mental health issues and just couldn't be responsible parent.  Had she contacted the Regional Center (years ago, likely), she would have had services.  My boy is ten, and at age two, he was getting speech, occupational, behavioral, and even music therapies.  He is still a regional center client, receiving group socialization therapy.  In addition, I have proactively sought out every single program I could get for him, and he receives behavioral and mental health services from a specialized clinic, paid for by my insurance.  I know lots of folks, though, who prefer to deny their child's autism entirely, claiming that "he'll grow out of it.  It's a shame, because early intervention is key to even partial recovery.  I am glad she doesn't have her kid now, and I hope wherever he ends up, he gets services, albeit really "too late."  He has passed all the key developmental windows at this point and will be a challenge for anyone attempting to parent him.

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