Rylan Rochester

Rylan RochesterName: Rylan Rochester
Died: June 1, 2010
Age at death: 6 months
Cause of death: Murder (Suffocation)
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

Details:
Rylan's mother was a mental health professional who worked with autistic children. At first, she seemed happy being a new mother; but as Rylan grew, she became more and more paranoid that Rylan was not meeting developmental milestones. Twice she took him to a hospital and was assured he was healthy and doing well; twice, she refused to believe them. The night after that second examination, perceiving the infant as an "alien, toxic, contaminated being," Rylan's mother twice started to suffocate him and stopped before he died. The third time, she piled three blankets on top of Rylan and left them there. In the morning, Rylan was dead.

Rylan's mother was declared not guilty by reason of insanity.

Editor's note: It is unlikely that Rylan was autistic, but he was killed by a professional who worked with autistic children, who reacted to her conviction that Rylan was autistic by killing him. Rylan's mother had postpartum depression, but her delusion was not bizzare, and she was not incapable of thinking clearly. She was clearly aware that she was killing Rylan, since she aborted the first two attempts. Despite her postpartum depression, I believe this is a case in which the killer was both legally insane and willfully evil. Had she not initially believed that an autistic child would ruin her life and that an autistic life was not worth living, her delusion that Rylan was autistic would not have led to murder.

References:
Stephanie Rochester judged insane when she killed her son, found not guilty
Stephanie Rochester smothered baby because of autism fears, affidavit says (No. 4)
Lloyd Rochester, Stephanie Rochester's ex-husband, testifies in hearing
Boulder DA won't contest Stephanie Rochester's sanity, drops jury trial

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