Mother charged in stabbing death of son, 14, who had severe form of autism
BY DAN ROZEK AND LEEANN SHELTON Chicago Sun-Times June 11, 2013 7:40PM
A River Grove mother and another woman have been charged with murder for allegedly stabbing a 14-year-old boy with a severe form of autism in the west suburban apartment they shared, authorities announced Tuesday night. Police found Alex Spourdalakis stabbed multiple times in the chest Sunday afternoon, lying in his bed in a second-floor apartment above a business on Grand Avenue. | Dan Rozek~Sun-Times
Updated: July 15, 2013 6:37PM
A River Grove mother and another woman have been charged with murder for allegedly stabbing a 14-year-old boy with a severe form of autism in the west suburban apartment they shared, authorities announced Tuesday night.
Police found Alex Spourdalakis stabbed multiple times in the chest Sunday afternoon, lying in his bed in a second-floor apartment above a business on Grand Avenue.
His mother, Dorothy Spourdalakis, and Jolanta Skrodzka are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death, Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.
Spourdalakis, 50, and Skrodzka, 44, also lived at the apartment.
Police found the teen’s mother and a caregiver “semi-conscious” but uninjured in the locked apartment on Sunday.
The teen had been hospitalized several times since November 2012 because of his medical condition, which was severe enough that his mother typically required help from police officers and paramedics. Police said they had been called to the home seven times since last November.
“When she needed to take him, she needed our help,” River Grove Police Chief Rodger Loni said, describing Alex as weighing about 225 pounds.
“He was a big strong young man,” Loni said.
Alex’s father and an uncle went to the residence around 3 p.m. Sunday after being unable to reach his mother or caretaker, according to police.
Finding the apartment locked, they forced their way in, found the slain teen and called police, authorities said.
A former British doctor who wrote a disputed study linking autism with a commonly used vaccine met several times this year with Dorothy Spourdalakis to discuss her son’s condition, most recently in late May.
Andrew Wakefield said she was devoted to her son but appeared “absolutely exhausted” from trying to care for him.
“One thing that was absolutely clear was how much she loved and cared for him, Wakefield said Wednesday, before Spourdalakis was charged. “She loved her son but was at wit’s end.”
She told him that she recently had been notified that her health insurance carrier no longer planned to cover the costs of her son’s hospitalizations, Wakefield said.
“I think that just compounded her desperation,” said Wakefield.
In January, the state’s child-welfare agency received a report of alleged neglect involving the teen’s mother.
It was deemed unfounded in April, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said Monday.
The agency reached out unsuccessfully by phone and mail to offer help to Alex’s family after the complaint was made, DCFS spokesman Dave Clarkin said.
“We made numerous attempts to offer services to the family,” Clarkin said.
Alex’s family never responded, he said.
Both women will appear for a bond hearing Wednesday at the Maywood courthouse, Simonton said.
Contributing: Dan Rozek