Mom Drowns 8-Year-Old Autistic Son Right After Regaining Custody of Him

Horrifying 22

riverA little boy with autism is dead and so is his mother in what is being called a murder-suicide in Alabama. Cops say Delicia Barrow drowned her 8-year-old son, Randle Barrow, in the Tennessee River, then returned to their home where the single mom killed herself. The tragedy was discovered after Randle, who attended a special school for kids with autism, didn't show up two days in a row.

Cops went to the Barrow home where they found the house on fire and Delicia dead. There was also a note that led them to Randle's body. The sad story shares similarities with many stories of overwhelmed parents of children with special needs who have decided to do something drastic -- and horrible -- to their children.

Inevitably, these sad tales open up a conversation about what it is that society should be doing for parents of kids with special needs, but in the case of Delicia Barrow, there's a startling fact that makes that conversation essentially moot.

More From The Stir: Mom Accused of Trying to Kill Autistic Daughter -- Stop Defending Her!

Delicia Barrow was a single mom of a child with autism -- her husband died in a car accident when Randle was just a baby -- but she was not alone.

In fact, close friends of the Barrow family have come out to say Delicia had handed over custody of Randle to them -- voluntarily -- earlier this year. The couple were even named in Delicia's will as guardians for the little boy. But it was Delicia herself who just recently decided to take her son back ... and, of course, it seems it was Delicia herself who made the horrible decision to take her child's life.

His mother HAD help! She HAD options when she was feeling like life was too much! She didn't have to ask for Randle back, and she could have returned him to her friends.

That's more than most single parents have, more even than most two-parent families have. When most of us are feeling overwhelmed, we have to just push ahead as is; we don't have someone willing to take our children for us for awhile so we can figure out our own problems without involving them.

As a parent, I know that it's not an easy gig -- whether your child has special needs or not. This doesn't mean that there is ever an excuse to kill your own child (there is NOT), but we can all acknowledge that sometimes you're simply pushed to the edge, and you need someone to help pull you back. You might be sympathetic to the person even when you're in complete disapproval and shock over their decisions.

But in the case of a mom who had help and didn't take it, who actually went and got her kid back ... only to end his life ... I'm not even able to have sympathy for the person, separate from her crime. 

Whatever she was going through, her child did not deserve this. Period.

What is your reaction when you hear about a mom who killed a child? Do you ever have sympathy for her?


Image via Liga_Eglite/Flickr

autism, child abuse, crime


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nonmember avatar adrien

We must always have sympathy for those who feel the need to take actions such as these. For whatever reason, she felt this had to be done and she herself could not live with it. God will sort this out. May that poor boy rest in piece.

nonmember avatar Suzanne

This is not about an overwhelmed mother of an autistic child, but I never think cases like this are. It's about a woman whose severe metal illness was unfortunately not recognized until it was too late to save her son. It irritates me when people make these murders all about autism. Every parent faces their own challenges, it's not easy for anyone; and plenty of parents with 'neurotypical ' children murder their own kids as well. A mentally healthy parent doesn't kill their children because things get too hard. These are deeply ill people.

AliPa... AliParker

I agree with Suzanne. Even if it's not something very serious (for lack of better example, I know depression can be very serious) it might just be depression that gets out of control. And they just snap.

What I hate about these stories is they are so often the same. Overwhelmed, stressed parent losing touch with reality and not getting the help they need. The kind of help she would have needed is so expensive a lot of people can't afford to do anything about it and then this happens...

adamat34 adamat34

Adrian, tha.k you. God does sort it out.

Sympathy to the family.

Kassy Stoeckel

No, let me tell you why people won't get help. It's because you have one episode of a "meltdown" (eg, simply crying because you're overwhelmed)... and all of a sudden you're having your kids taken away simply for being OVERWHELMED. True story. No abuse, no neglect... just people who want your children using any label of mental illness they can to portray you as being on the same level as the woman that we're discussing. It doesn't matter how much people try to make "mental illness" a non-stigma now, it's because of people like this that perfectly capable parents get their children taken from them for simply admitting that they needed a little help sorting things out. I'm not kidding.

lasombrs lasombrs

Both of our children are special needs and while yes things are definetly hard, sometimes overwhelming, and sometimes no help to be had my thoughts never turn to hurting my children. :(

Laurie McDougall

I live the autism single mom role every day of my life. He sees counselors-he is medicated-he attempted to kill me at one point..but KILL HIM?? Something is wrong with that entire thought process! I have considered killing myself-especially when things get bad..but then I remember him. No one would ever care for him like I do!! So--i put on my big girl panties and face yet another day! I wouldn't trade him for the world! Sympathy for that mom--sorry-fresh out!

nonmember avatar Aubrey

I have none she had help and other options she did not have to kill her child! There is never a reason i don`t care how overwhelmed you are there is always a way. Someone will help!

autod... autodidact

We must always have sympathy for those who feel the need to take actions such as these. 

the FUCK we must. she's a murderer. 

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