Name: Jude Mirra (a.k.a. Jude Jordan)
Died: February 4, 2010
Age at death: 8
Cause of death: Murder (Poisoning)
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Jude’s mother is described at having “driven herself crazy” over her son’s autism. She “felt she had to to fix his problem…. [and] went to clinics all over the country looking for a treatment, grasping at straws.”
Among the therapists Jude’s mother took him to was a man who believed in “Satanic ritual abuse” and practiced recovered-memory therapy. This is a discredited practice which works by creating false memories; in Jude’s case, a pseudoscientific method called “faciliated communication” was used to manufacture communication which did not come from Jude himself. As Jude’s mother feared, this “communication” informed her that Jude was a victim of “Satanic ritual abuse”.
Fearing the end of her troubled second marriage and obsessed with the idea that Jude had been abused, Jude’s mother checked into a hotel room, killed him with a mix of prescription drugs, and tried to commit suicide. She survived the suicide attempt and was taken to a mental hospital.
Jude’s mother was convicted of murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Her conviction was vacated on a technicality and she was released after five years.
Note: Facilitated communication is the practice of holding a disabled person’s hand’s hand to “help” them point to letters on a keyboard. It works by idiomotor effect, producing “communication” that comes subconsciously from the facilitator. Methods to help non-verbal children communicate by pointing without risking this “facilitator effect” do exist, but Jude’s mother seems to have essentially used her son’s hand as an Ouija-board pointer.–Ed.
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