Name: Oliver Lucas “Olly” Stephens.
Died: January 3, 2021.
Age at death: 13.
Cause of death: Murder (Stabbed).
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England, UK.
Oliver, called Olly, had a 16-year-old sister named Emilia. He attended Highdown School, to which he had been scheduled to return the day after he died.
He was ambushed and stabbed to death in a park by several other teenagers.
His family called him “hilariously funny, charming and beautiful”. They remember that Olly “…always stood his ground and fought for the underdog whilst having an amazing depth of love, warmth and wit…. An Olly-sized hole has been left in our hearts.”
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Name: Sayeed Neilson.
Died: October 23, 2020.
Age at death: 14.
Cause of death: Abuse (Injuries “inconsistent with a fall”).
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Sayeed loved Star Wars and Halloween. He never missed a day walking his dog Chloe, rain or shine. He had planned to dress up as Ghostface, from the Scream movies, for Halloween.
Sayeed’s stepbrother punched and kicked him in the head; his mother told his stepbrother to stop, but then walked away without actually checking to make sure he had stopped. When Sayeed died, they claimed he had fallen in the shower; but his injuries were “inconsistent with a fall”. His mother and stepbrother were arrested and charged with child abuse, homicide, and criminal tampering.
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Name: David Almond.
Died: October 21, 2020.
Age at death: 14.
Cause of death: Neglect (Starvation; drugged with Fentanyl).
Location: Fall River, Massachusetts, USA.
At school, David had been a happy boy with a good sense of humor. His schoolmates described him as the “mayor” of the school. He was good at reading and took pride in this ability. He participated in school plays. He and his brothers had invented their own language to communicate between them. David liked cartoons, toys, and video games.
David was one of a set of triplets. All three boys were autistic, and they lived with their father and his girlfriend and their three-year-old brother. The triplets had been staying at an institution, but at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, two of the boys were sent home, while the third was able to tell the judge that he did not want to return.
The boys’ guardians abused drugs and neglected them until David was found unresponsive, weighing only 80 pounds at 5 feet 10 inches tall and with fentanyl (an opiate drug) in his system. Paramedics could not save David’s life, and he was declared dead. His brother Michael, also suffering from malnutrition, was taken to the hospital. The third triplet returned to the institution, and their three-year-old brother was taken by family services. David’s father and his girlfriend were arrested and charged with killing David and neglecting his brother.
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Name: Eric Parsa.
Died: January 20, 2020.
Age at death: 16.
Cause of death: Suffocation in restraint.
Location: Metairie, Louisiana, USA.
High-schooler Eric liked going to Laser Tag. The staff there knew and liked him and tried to interact with him as much as they could, because they knew it was good social skills practice for him. He especially liked the bumper cars and the bowling alley.
Eric was at Laser Tag when he had a severe meltdown after an argument with his father. He began hitting himself and shoving and biting his father. Someone called the police, and the police pinned the teen down. Several large men knelt on his back, keeping Eric from breathing. Despite multiple opportunities to let him up and put him into the recovery position so he could breathe, police pinned him down for seven to nine minutes. When they finally checked on him, he was no longer breathing and could not be revived.
Video of the incident shows a typical autistic meltdown, with the teenager pushing and slapping at people nearby. The police perform a “take-down”, slamming him into the ground hard and restraining him in a prone position. This risks both head injury and suffocation.
Police are blaming Eric’s death on “excited delirium”; Eric’s parents are suing. “Never did we ever think that our 16-year-old son with special needs would die in front of our eyes at this age and in the hands of law enforcement,” his mother says. “Unfortunately, it is our reality of a nightmare.”
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Lou v. Lopinto
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Name: Dustin Baggett.
Died: January 18, 2020.
Age at death: 15.
Cause of death: Murder (Arson).
Location: Florissant, Missouri, USA.
Dustin’s neighbors had long been worried about how he and the other children in his house were being treated. They called authorities repeatedly. Dustin, though nonverbal, was a friendly boy and constantly smiling. A neighbor remembers, “We all kind of took him in, knowing he needed our love.”
Dustin was pulled out of his burning house by firefighters, but died a day later in the hospital. The fire was investigated and shown to be arson, set by a man who lived in his house.
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