Name: Leon Michael Le Fleming Jayet-Cole
Died: May 29, 2015
Age at death: 5
Cause of death: Fatal child abuse (Head injury)
Location: Papanui, New Zealand
Leon was a “beautiful, happy-spirited kid” who made his family laugh with the quirky things he said. He had learned to speak and learned to read when he was four, and at five years old was enrolled in school. His obituary calls him the “chief mischief maker of his brothers and sisters Lucas, Nadia, Anabelle, Fabian, and Liam; Giane, Daniel and James.” He loved pillow-fighting and riding his tricycle. He had to have his toast cut just right, or he wouldn’t eat it. His favorite movie was Frozen.
He hadn’t spoken until he was four, but then he started speaking, reading, and doing math all at once. Leon was a bookworm who would start reading the moment he woke. When they saw how fast he was learning, his family began calling him “Superman”. He loved school, which he attended for half-days, and Dr. Seuss was his favorite author. He had a brother who was also autistic.
Leon’s stepfather beat him to the point that he suffered a severe head injury, and his mother did not seek medical care for him when she saw he had been hurt. Leon survived on life support in the hospital for two days before he died. His organs were transplanted and have saved the lives of five people.
Leon’s stepfather has been charged with murder and his mother for failing to get medical treatment for him. Before Leon’s stepfather could be tried, he committed suicide. Charges against his mother were dropped.
Coroner: Agencies missed red flags before autistic Christchurch boy Leon Jayet-Cole’s death
Stepfather hit 5-year-old ‘four times a week’, but mum saw nothing
Police could have done more to stop violent stepfather
‘Beautiful’ autistic boy Leon Jayet-Cole dies of head injuries
Leon Jayet-Cole’s mother Emma Roberts charged
Christchurch schoolboy Leon Jayet-Cole hospitalised with head injury months before death
Concerns raised with CYF before Leon Jayet-Cole’s death
File shows tragedy of Leon Jayet-Cole unfolding
Funeral for man accused of killing autistic boy Leon Jayet-Cole
Man accused of killing child found dead
Man accused of murdering autistic boy found dead
Warning signs in CYF reports before Leon Jayet-Cole’s alleged murder
Inquest into death of Leon Jayet-Cole, 5, hears from step-dad who died awaiting murder trial
Mother accepts dead husband killed autistic son
Name: Otto Rapihana
Died: November 9, 2012
Age at death: 20
Cause of death: Fire
Location: Glendene, New Zealand
At school, Otto was the student who always welcomed special guests. He loved the outdoors and planned to have a 21st birthday party on the beach.
Otto lived in an apartment with a caregiver who left him locked in a bathroom while she went to buy food. The house caught on fire (the cause of the fire has not been made public; the fire serviced called it "sensitive and complex") and Otto died in the bathroom.
Otto is mourned by two siblings and his special education classmates. His housemate was badly burned but survived the fire.
Mum: why did my son die?
Autistic fire survivor 'let down'
Autistic man's fire death highlights failings
Name: Nozomu Shinozaki
Died: February 27, 2003
Age at death: 22
Cause of death: Murder (Beating)
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Nozomu Shinozaki was a Japanese student, studying at Columbus Academy in west Auckland. Japanese young people commonly study in foreign countries because it makes it easier for them to get jobs on their return home.
Columbus Academy was an unregistered school which claimed to help "troubled teenagers". It was, at the time of Shinozaki's murder, under investigation for fraudulently overcharging parents.
At some point during his stay at Columbus, Nozumu committed some petty theft and set small fires. He admitted to these and apologized for them.
Nozumu was kidnapped by thirteen of his fellow students. For hours they interrogated him about the thefts and arson, and when his answers did not satisfy them, they beat him for three hours until he died.
Four of the nine students were sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail. The others were not punished.
Four men jailed 3-1/2 years for beating student to death
Clamps go on foreign student industry
A Lonely World
Name: Jim Helm
Died: November 8, 1998
Age at death: 27
Cause of death: Murder-suicide
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Jim had Down syndrome and autism, and he lived with his mother. Apparently, she was afraid of what would happen to Jim if she died, so she killed Jim and herself.
Jim Helm died at the hands of a loving mother who despaired of their future.