Brooke Martin

Photo of a young woman with long strawberry-blond hair, wearing a white tank top, smiling for the camera. She has fair skin and brown eyes; her head is tilted.Name: Brooke Martin.
Died: June 11, 2019.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Suicide.
Location: Milton Keynes, England, UK.

Brooke wanted to become a veterinarian. She was “very caring, thoughtful, and sensitive,” her mother remembers.

Diagnosed with autism and emotionally unstable personality disorder, Brooke had been living with the risk of suicide for some time. She had been repeatedly hospitalized involuntarily due to suicide attempts and self-injury.

Hospitalized once again in a unit that supposedly specialized in personality disorders, Brooke initially improved, but then became suicidal again. Staff observed her handling “potential ligatures” which she had hidden under her blanket; but nobody did anything to help. Only minutes later, having been left unattended despite her obvious and active suicidal intent, she was found unconscious in her room. She died the next day.

An inquest found that the hospital had failed to protect Brooke in several ways. They had not searched her room after they saw her handling ligatures, nor had they taken the ligatures away; she was not put on 1:1 observation; and staff who had seen Brooke in danger did not report the problem.

‘I thought she’d be safe’: a life lost to suicide in a place meant for recovery
Inquest finds serious failures by Elysium Healthcare contributed to death of 19 year old Brooke Martin
Report to Prevent Future Deaths: Brooke Martin
Mum slams private hospital ‘blunders’ after daughter, 19, takes her own life

Zyiar Harris

Photo of a boy with brown skin, wearing a gray baseball cap and black and white patterned sweater.Name: Zyiar Harris.
Died: April 10, 2022.
Age at death: 13.
Cause of death: Accident (Hit by car).
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Zyiar rode the bus to and from school. In the USA, school buses are equipped with vehicle-mounted stop signs and flashing lights, and bus drivers are required to display the signs and lights whenever they stop to load or unload students, so that drivers on the road will see the signs and stop to let the children cross the road. Because he was autistic, Zyiar’s driver was supposed to let him off the bus right in front of his own home.

However, instead of stopping in front of Zyiar’s home, Zyiar’s bus driver stopped on a busy street. She did not activate the signs or the lights when she stopped to let Zyiar off, so traffic did not stop. When Zyiar got off the bus to cross the street, he was hit by a car; and instead of stopping to help, the bus driver simply drove away.

Zyiar was taken to a hospital, but his injuries proved fatal. “My son was autistic, so you didn’t care, you just let him out, in the middle of the street,” Zyiar’s mother said. “And then when he got hit, she pulled out, she saw him get hit and still pulled off.”

The bus driver has been charged with child abuse and failing to stop after being involved in an accident.

School bus driver charged in death of 13-year-old boy hit by car last week in Detroit
Detroit Bus Driver Charged In 13-Year-Old Autistic Student’s Death
Final arrangements for Baby Zyair

Mason Sadler

Mason Sadler, a young boy with dark hair and olive-toned skin, stands on a driveway, wearing a backpack that dwarfs him. He is wearing an athletic T-shirt and shorts, and smiling for the camera.Name: Mason Sadler.
Died: August 29, 2021.
Age at death: 3.
Cause of death: Drowning.
Location: Spring Hollow Township, Missouri, USA.

Mason’s parents left him with a babysitter. While under her care, Mason left the house, found a nearby pond, and drowned. Though the incident looked at first like one of the accidental drowning deaths so common among water-loving autistic youngsters, authorities found surveillance video and established that Mason’s babysitter had left him alone for more than an hour. They charged the babysitter with first-degree child endangerment.

Editor’s note: In the typical accidental drowning, a caregiver turns their back for just a minute, and the child is gone. These are tragedies, accidental and unforeseen. To prevent accidental drownings among autistic children, it is highly recommended to teach them to swim, and to fence off all ponds and swimming pools. However, leaving a three-year-old alone for an hour is obvious negligence, which makes this death very different from the sad accidents that take children even from conscientious parents.

Laclede County Woman Charged In Autistic Child’s Drowning Death Pleads Not Guilty
Lebanon family speaks out after hearing about arrest in Mason Sadler case
Charges Filed in 3-Year Old’s Death
Lebanon woman charged with toddler’s drowning death

Josh Hancey

Hancey, JoshName: Josh Hancey.
Died: July 21, 2021.
Age at death: 12.
Cause of death: Negligence (Left in hot car; hyperthermia).
Location: American Fork, Utah, USA.

Josh’s family was unable to care for him, so he lived with a proctor family who had been trained in the needs of autistic children. He was enrolled in a day program that had the responsibility to transport him safely to and from the program.

Josh had left the facility and gotten lost on two occasions on the 11th and 20th of July. On the 21st, staff left him in the van in the hot parking lot for two hours, where he died of heat stroke.

Day before boy’s death in hot car, staff at center told to be ‘alert’ for his safety
Developments in hot car death: Boy had autism, state investigating, center on notice
Autistic Boy Wandered From Care Facility a Day Before He Died in Hot Car: Officials
What’s next in the American Fork hot car death investigation of an 11-year-old?
Boy who died in a hot car was allowed to ‘wander off’ from care facility days before
State takes immediate action to limit license of program where Utah boy died in hot car
Family of the boy who died in hot car is devastated

9-year-old boy

Name Unknown.
Died: April 21, 2021.
Age at death: 9.
Cause of death: Neglect (Drowning).
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA.

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 she demanded he do 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 pleaded no contest to aggravated manslaughter, and was sentenced to one year of community control and five years of probation.

Port St. Lucie man enters plea deal sparing him prison time in drowning of 9-year-old son
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