Mom Drowns Autistic Son & Even Her Family Wants Her to Rot in Prison

Heartbreaking 96

bath tubThere's some sad news out of San Diego. A mother has been sentenced to 15 years for drowning her autistic son in the family bathtub. Patricia Corby said she was planning to commit suicide after killing 4-year-old son Daniel. Instead she drove to a police station and turned herself in for what prosecutors would eventually term second-degree murder.

Now she's headed for prison and no one, not even Corby's own family, seems to want to have anything to do with her. The boy's father told her he hates her with all his "heart and soul." An aunt called Corby "evil."

Their reactions aren't uncommon. Sometimes families rally around their loved one, loving the sinner while hating the sin. Others strike out in anger, in hatred.

Patricia Corby murdered a child. It's an act that's particularly heinous.

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And yet, in situations like this, those of us on the outside tend to look for a reason, don't we? Not an excuse, necessarily, but an explanation. How does a mother kill her own child? Is there some extenuating circumstance?

Corby was the primary caregiver for her son who had reportedly been making developmental strides since his autism diagnosis, but not enough for her. Investigators said she was severely depressed and frustrated:

She felt like her whole existence was dedicated to her child. She felt like she had no life. She wanted Daniel to be normal.

Coupled with Corby's plans to commit suicide herself, her decision to turn herself in, her family's huge bills for Daniel's autism treatments, the description isn't of a cold-blooded killer but a woman with nowhere to turn. It's hard not to feel a least a modicum of sympathy. That's not excusing a criminal; it's being human.

This is where we are caught, as humans, wondering what to think. It is human to show mercy. But is there is room for sympathy for a killer when a child is dead? If this woman's family can't continue to love her, can anyone forgive her?

Here are the words of the victim's father:

I hate you with all my heart and soul. You killed our handsome little boy who is without sin ... he had an IQ of 100 ... you hit him on the head and drowned Daniel ... You are a selfish person. To you I say adios.

This is a man grieving the loss of his little boy at Patricia Corby's hands. The same goes for the little boy's aunt. Here's what she had to say to Corby:

You did the most selfish and heinous thing. You murdered him in cold blood. Part of our hearts stopped beating the stars went out in the sky.

The trials and troubles Corby went through before she made the choice to take her son's life may make her a sympathetic figure, but these people will never be able to recover from the loss of a little boy they loved. The question is whether you can sympathize with both or only one.

How does the family's judgment of Corby affect what you think of the woman who drowned her child?


Image via lavenderstreak/Flickr

child abuse, death


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CPN322 CPN322

I feel no sympathy for her what so ever and you really shouldn't either. Having grown up with an autistic sibling, I can feel sympathy for other families when they become overwhelmed, but to take her childs life? She absolutely should rot.

LeeshaE LeeshaE

To me this sounds like an over whelmed care giver and by the lack of support from her family now I cant help but question how supportive they were to her in the past

Sweet... SweetPieMama24

I absolutely agree with you CPN322 - how can someone feel sympathy for a person who killed a child with their own bare hands!? Absolutely disgusted at this article!!!!!


Flori... Floridamom96

Her child! She murdered her child! There are no words adequate to the horror.

nonmember avatar ruthless1

I think the family is reacting in a completely understandable way. What she did WAS evil. If she felt desperate and overwhelmed, there were so many things she could have done other than kill her child. She could have left the situation. Abandoning her child would have been much more preferable to killing him. As a parent matter how desperate and frustrated and upset I would ever feel about things, hurting my children would never even enter my mind. I can feel sorry for the situation she found herself in, but I can not empathize or find sympathy for her having chosen to do what she did...and her family should not be expected to, either.

Mommi... MommietoJB

I agree with LeeshaE. I am the sole caregiver of a severely autistic and non-verbal 4 year old. I absolutely love and adore my son. But it is at times overwhelming. I do ocassionally ask for help and some breathing time to get through it. Honestly when your child is autistic, you dont exactly get family membersor friends volunteering to babysit. I can see how without family support, someone with not a lot of mental stability could do this. Its heart breaking and wrong to kill an innocent child the fathers words are warranted but im wondering how much help did he give her, did he listen to her.Im sure there were red flags. Helping his wife would be helping his son.

nonmember avatar Dawn

I do not feel sympathy for this coward of a mother. She killed her son in the most heinous way. Drowing deaths are slow deaths. If she felt overwhelmed, there are places she could have gone to for help, but she chose not too. She chose instead to kill a child, the person who could not care for themselves. Disgusting. All of her acts were selfish.

Flori... Floridamom96

Eupeptic, there are inherent rights and wrongs. What this woman did is beyond heinous no matter what your spirit guide says. She must be held accountable. What the rest of this family is feeling is righteous anger and outrage. There is also purpose to this life such that it is not something that can be tossed aside by another simply in favor of the better, more perfect spirit realm. Stop dismissing and trivializing the anguish this family feels at the loss of the physical presence of their very precious loved one.

missusmc missusmc

This child was making progress every day.  He had immediate and extended family that loved and supported him.  Speaking from strictly my own experience as a parent of kids on the spectrum, it can be challenging at times to raise them.  I suspect t is also challenging to raise kids not on the spectrum.  This woman actually had more support for her kid than most do, and reportedly, her child was making the kind of progress that other moms like me dream of for our own children.  No sympathy here.

it would also be nice to read some good news about autism from you once in awhile.  It's out there.  Raising my boys is hardly the traumatic experience that you seem to make it out to be in many of your articles.  Autistic kids are not something to fear or feel sorry for.  They're a lot like you and me.  Something to think about.

fave82 fave82

Jeanne sager, are you fucking kidding me?!

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