Mom Drowns Autistic Son Because She Was Overwhelmed by Caring for Him

This is an unbelievably tragic story, but unfortunately one we hear all too often: A mother was reportedly so overwhelmed with caring for her special needs son, a 4-year-old autistic boy, that she killed him. Patricia Colby of San Diego pleaded guilty in the drowning murder of her young son. Colby apparently spent all of her time caring for her son, Daniel, while the boy's father, Duane Colby, worked. The prosecutor reportedly said that Patricia "felt like her whole existence was dedicated to her child. She felt like she had no life."


The boy's father says he had no clue his wife was in danger of hurting their son, and neighbors say the boy always seemed "happy." But behind the scenes, Patricia was apparently breaking down mentally.

After drowning her son in the bathtub, Patricia wrapped him in a blanket, put him in the back of her car, and drove to a police station. There, she admitted what she'd done. Photos of her in court show a distraught woman, and she sobbed so uncontrollably during her plea of guilty that a judge said he hesitated accepting it, although he did.

Patricia was the main caretaker for Daniel, and despite the fact that his father and teacher say he was "making progress," the couple were $70,000 in debt because of treatment they bought him.

The fact that Patricia immediately confessed to what she'd done, and pleaded guilty, plus her emotional state say to me that she truly regrets what she's done. There is never ANY excuse for killing a child, but my heart goes out to this woman, who must have been completely overwhelmed by his care.

I can't imagine what it's like having a child, and your hopes are so high that this child will bring nothing but joy and fun to your life, and instead it turns out so differently. I wish this woman could have gotten more help -- for her sake and her son's. Just tragic. Reminds me of the horrible Andrea Yates case. Patricia faces up to 15 years in prison.

Do you feel sorry for this woman at all?


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