Liam Husted

Photo of a small boy sitting in a swing and smiling broadly at the camera.Name: Liam Husted.
Died: May 28, 2021.
Age at death: 7.
Cause of death: Unspecified homicide.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Details:
Liam loved to swim. He attended a school for autistic children and had a therapist to visit him at home for “behavioral issues”, but these services were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He lived with his mother, who was separated from his father.

Liam’s body was found by hikers. Initially unidentified, he was called “Little Zion” until a family friend recognized his photo as that of Liam, who had gone missing along with his mother. Less than a day later, police found Liam’s mother and arrested her on suspicion of murder.

References:
California woman arrested after special-needs son’s body found in remote Nevada area
Samantha Moreno Rodriguez arrested in special needs 7 yr old son murder
Body Of John ‘Little Zion’ Doe Found Near Las Vegas Identified As Missing San Jose 7-Year-Old; Mother Wanted For Murder
California mom suspected in son’s death arrested after nationwide manhunt
Mother arrested in Denver in connection with San Jose boy’s death near Las Vegas
Mother arrested for death of son found dumped on Las Vegas hike trail
San Jose Mother Suspected of Killing 7-Year-Old Son Arrested in Denver
California mom jailed in Denver following son’s Vegas death

9-year-old boy

Name Unknown.
Died: April 21, 2021.
Age at death: 9.
Cause of death: Negligence (Left unsupervised near unsecured swimming pool).
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA.

Details:
This 9-year-old boy lived with his father in a house with an old, dirty swimming pool out back. Despite the fact that the boy had a severe intellectual disability, the father did not bother to put a fence around the pool. Child protective services had once found him wandering alone outside.

On the day he died, the boy’s father reported that he had left the back door open, and the boy had fallen into the pool. Instead of calling emergency services, he called the child’s mother, and then only called emergency services when he demanded he did so. At first reluctant to retrieve the child from the pool because he did not like water, he was finally persuaded to fish him out with a rake and do CPR. The boy was found to be brain-dead at the hospital.

His father was arrested and charged with battery and aggravated manslaughter.

References:
Father jailed on aggravated manslaughter of a child charge after son’s death in Port St. Lucie
Man arrested in connection with son’s drowning death in Port St. Lucie
Dad arrested for manslaughter after 9-year-old autistic son found at bottom of pool
Port St. Lucie man charged with manslaughter in autistic son’s drowning

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

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

Guadalupe Martinez

Martinez, GuadalupeName: Guadalupe “Lupita” Martinez.
Died: January 28, 2021.
Age at death: 30.
Cause of death: Multiple murder (Stabbed).
Location: Othello, Washington, USA.

Details:
Guadalupe, called “Lupita” by her family, lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend.

From her obituary:
Lupe loved life. Her social calendar was always full of birthday parties, weddings, dances, and free Tuesday movies. For years we had to sing happy birthday to her at all of our family birthday parties. She loved dressing up for Sunday mass and having lunch with her mom and grandma. She always made weekend plans on the Sunday before the weekend occurred, she had plans and it was of the utmost importance to stick to those plans.

Lupe loved nail polish, costume jewelry and music. She was most proud of her retail work at Experienced Merchandise.

Many close family members received daily phone calls from Lupe. She didn’t have much to say, only a few quick questions and then she ended the call, whether you wanted it to end or not. If she knew you she would never forget your name and probably knew your mom’s name and who cut your hair. When we forgot someone’s name Lupe always remembered.

When her mother and her mother’s boyfriend got into an argument, her mother’s boyfriend lured her into the garage and stabbed her to death. While he was doing so, Guadalupe walked into the garage, perhaps trying to defend her mother or simply wondering what was happening; so he killed Guadalupe too.

The killer has been charged with first-degree murder.

References:
‘We are all scared’: Neighbors speak after the murders of two women in Othello
Othello man admits to murdering two women: Court documents/A>
Man Stabs and Chops Up Girlfriend And Her Daughter After Argument