Name: April Heather Zavala.
Died: June 14, 2020.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Murder (Strangled).
Location: Elko, Nevada, USA.
Whether April had a medical diagnosis of autism is unknown. However, her mother labeled her as having autism after doing research on her own, saying that April had “high-functioning autism” and that she had recently undergone a “chemical change” in her brain that made her much harder to care for.
April’s mother strangled her because she wanted to dress herself instead of letting her mother dress her. She said that caring for April during the COVID pandemic had become too stressful. At the time of her death, April had not seen a doctor in several years.
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Name: Skylea Carmack.
Died: September 4, 2019.
Age at death: 10.
Cause of death: Murder (Strangled).
Location: Gas City, Indiana, USA.
Skylea was one of six siblings. She lived with her father and stepmother.
Skylea’s stepmother strangled her, then reported her missing, saying she had vanished from her home. Police issued a Silver Alert, announcing that Skylea had a history of running away to her mother’s home and might have an autism awareness blanket with her. Skylea’s body was found behind her home several days later.
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Name: Ari Ase.
Age at death: 8.
Name: Mya Ase.
Age at death: 7.
Name: John Savage.
Age at death: 3.
Died: July 7, 2019.
Cause of death: Multiple murder-suicide (Gassed with carbon monoxide).
Location: Syracuse, New York, USA.
Ari and Mya were both autistic, and their younger brother John was in autism therapy on his mother’s insistence. Ari smiled all the time; Mya sang songs. Both liked music. Mya was a talented artist whose teacher thought she would one day become famous. Ari would read the dictionary for fun. Three-year-old John, a precocious boy who could already count and spell, loved reading books.
Their mother packed the three children into a rental car and ignited a charcoal grill, filling the car with carbon monoxide and killing them all.
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Name: Eiichiro Kumazawa.
Died: June 1, 2019.
Age at death: 44.
Cause of death: Murder (Stabbed).
Location: Tokyo, Japan.
Eiichiro, after being bullied in school as a child, eventually withdrew into his house and stopped going out.
Eiichiro’s father stabbed him to death in a premeditated attack. He claimed self-defense, but Eiichiro had 36 stab wounds, while his father was barely scratched. Prosecutors pointed out that had Eiichiro’s father been worried about his son’s violent behavior, he could easily have consulted a doctor.
Eiichiro may not have been autistic. He was, however, a hikikomori (shut-in) with a developmental disorder. –Ed.
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Name: Hiroki Naito.
Died: November 26, 2018.
Age at death: 36.
Cause of death: Multiple murder (Strangled).
Location: Ono, Gifu Prefecture, Japan.
Other victim: Kyoko Naito, age 69; had diabetes and was bedbound.
Hiroki’s father killed him and his mother Kyoko by strangling them with a necktie.
Hiroki’s sister, who has a mild disability herself, was not attacked and survived the incident. His father was arrested.
Editor’s note: Hiroki may not have been autistic. He is described in the article as a “hikikomori”, or shut-in, someone who reacts to the stresses of everyday life by withdrawing to their room or their house. This phenomenon, primarily Japanese, is known to be associated with autism, especially mild autism in people who have been trying to function like neurotypicals. However, it also affects people with depression, social anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
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