Levi Ernest-Morrison

Photo of Levi Ernest-Morrison. He is a dark-skinned teenage boy wearing a dress shirt and vest and a baseball cap, with his arm around someone to the left of the picture.Name: Levi Ernest-Morrison.
Died: April 10, 2021.
Age at death: 17.
Cause of death: Murder (Stabbed).
Location: Sydenham, South East London, England, UK.

Details:
Levi was a quiet, well-mannered boy. Self-conscious due to alopecia (hair loss), he didn’t often go out; but he had befriended a neighbor who had had multiple strokes, and once saved her life with first aid. He didn’t want to put up a tent in the yard because he was afraid of damaging his mother’s plants. He wanted to go to the Caribbean and build a family home there.

Levi had nerve damage in his leg, so he walked with a crutch. His mother thinks that this may have made him look like an “easy target” to his assailants when one of them ran him over with her car and the other stabbed him to death.

References:
Help Murder Victim Levi E.M With Funeral Costs, organized by J F
Police arrest woman, 36, over murder of ‘kind’ disabled boy, 17
Heartbroken mum of Sydenham stabbing victim says disability ‘made him a target’
Heartbroken mum of disabled teen, 17, knifed to death on London street says he was ‘run over then stabbed’ as woman held

Sterling McCain

Photo of a man with brown hair, fair skin, and a full beard. He is wearing glasses and a plaid flannel shirt.Name: Sterling McCain.
Died: April 3, 2021.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Murder (Shooting).
Location: San Angelo, California, USA.

Details:
From Sterling’s obituary:
“Sterling had many interests, but some of his favorite hobbies were fishing and playing the guitar. He was a much more accomplished guitarist than fisherman, but that never discouraged him from trying. He loved Harry Potter and had quite the collection of all things Hogwarts. He also enjoyed grilling outdoors; he always cooked the best steaks.

“Sterling had a very caring and sensitive heart. He rescued virtually every dog he found, always making room for one more. He also loved to surprise Myan with simple little gifts that he always tried to keep a secret, but his sly little grin always gave him away. He loved his family and enjoyed the simple things in life.”

Sterling and his wife were having marital problems, so they decided to go on a drive to discuss things and rekindle their relationship. But things went wrong. At a restaurant, Sterling got drunk and argued with a waitress; on the way home, Sterling became non-verbal and had to communicate through text messages, which got increasingly jumbled as he started reversing his pronouns, calling himself a demon, talking about burning in hell, and talking about killing himself and killing his wife.

On the drive home, Sterling’s wife called a family friend, asking for help. The friend gathered a rifle and a large knife, called the police to report a possible assault, and awaited the couple’s car. Sterling’s wife reports that he pulled her hair and grabbed her by the neck.

When they pulled into the driveway, Sterling exited the car, and his wife locked herself into the car. Sterling went to the house and started banging on the siding; then he went to the door. The friend met him at the door, holding a rifle, which Sterling tried to swat away. The friend shot him multiple times, killing him. Sterling was unarmed at the time. The shooter has been charged with murder.

Sterling, like many autistic adults, found it very difficult to get any support. He had been repeatedly bullied at work. When he had a breakdown and police were called, they did not respond to the call until after he had been shot.

Editor’s note: Autistic people are, of course, neither angels nor demons; we are no more prone to violence than the average person. Sterling’s behavior should not be condoned–but neither did it deserve death, especially since the man who shot him could see Sterling’s wife was safe in the car, knew the police were on their way, and knew Sterling was unarmed. Sterling, having consumed alcohol and in the middle of an autistic meltdown, would very likely have responded well to being left alone and allowed to calm down on his own.

References:
Details: Man with Autism Shot and Killed Saturday
Sterling James McCain Obituary

Ayushi Majethia

Photo of a young Indian woman, her dark hair cut short, a small scar across her eyebrow and one eye turned slightly outward, looking at the camera with a thoughtful expression.Name: Ayushi Majethia.
Died: March 27, 2021.
Age at death: 27.
Cause of death: Accidental/Negligence (Dehydration/pneumonia after going missing).
Location: Chembur, Maharashtra, India.

Details:
Ayushi, who had intellectual disability as well as autism, went to a nearby temple with her mother. They became separated, and Ayushi got lost. The family went to police, asking for help. They showed the police her mental health certificate. Her brother explained that Ayushi was a vulnerable disabled person and they needed to start searching for her right away, because she could easily be hurt on her own.

But the police did not file a First Information Report until Ayushi had been missing for 17 days. Some people saw her on the trains, and one of Ayushi’s friends who saw her also called the police; but nothing was done.

It wasn’t until May 3 that Ayushi’s family were informed that she was dead. Her body had been found two days after she went missing; she had died of dehydration and pneumonia, and her body had been cremated a day later because all the mortuaries were full of COVID victims. Her family had to identify her from pictures.

Had the police acted when they asked for help, Ayushi’s family believes she would be alive today.

References:
Mumbai: Family claims police delay led to missing autistic woman’s death

Jax Ponomarenko

Photo of a small boy standing in the snow, holding the leash to a brown dog.Name: Jax Ponomarenko.
Died: March 25, 2021.
Age at death: 5.
Cause of death: Murder (Beaten with baseball bat).
Location: Parma, Ohio, USA.

Details:
Jax used a tablet to communicate. A relative describes him as “delicate and full of life”. Child and family services had been involved in his case before, and his father had been charged with child endangerment and made to pay a fine.

Shortly after Jax’s father returned from a behavioral health facility, he called 911, saying, “I’ve killed my son,” and claiming he had been hearing voices. He then described how he had beaten the boy to death with a baseball bat.

Neighbors are leaving memorial tributes at Jax’s house.

References:
5-year-old boy killed in Parma, boy’s father arrested, police say
Matthew Ponomarenko beats autistic son, Jax, 5, to death w/ baseball bat
GRAPHIC: ‘I just killed my son after hearing voices,’ Parma, Ohio dad tells 911 dispatcher
Ohio dad admits killing autistic 5-year-old son with baseball bat

16-year-old boy

Name Unknown.
Died: March 16, 2021.
Age at death: 16.
Cause of death: Murder.
Location: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

Details:
After this 16-year-old was found dead on the floor of his home, the teen’s cousin was charged with murder.

References:
Man arrested in a KFC carpark and charged with the alleged murder of his severely autistic cousin | Daily Mail Online
Cousin charged with murder after teen’s body found