Doctor Says She Killed Daughter To "End The Pain"

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express (subscribe)

MORTON, IL--A 37-year-old physician has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder after allegedly confessing to suffocating to death her three-year-old daughter.

Karen McCarron, M.D., was arrested and jailed Tuesday, with her bond set at $2 million.

McCarron had called 9-1-1 Saturday afternoon from their Morton home, saying her daughter, Katherine, had suddenly stopped breathing. Rescue workers were not able to revive the girl, who was pronounced dead a short time later.

The county coroner told reporters on Monday that an autopsy found the preliminary cause of Katie's death was suffocation.

Later on Monday, according to a police affidavit, McCarron confessed to putting a white plastic bag over the girl's head and holding it until she died.

Police also said McCarron told her husband, Paul, that she killed their daughter to end both her pain and the girl's pain.

McCarron said the child, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2, was "very stimmy" on Saturday and would not take her afternoon nap. She packed up the girl and her two-year-old sister, and took them to a different house where she suffocated Katie. She then drove both girls back to their home, discarding the plastic bag in a gas station garbage can along the way.

Journal Star columnist Phil Luciano wrote Wednesday that he had spoken with McCarron just three weeks before her daughter's death.

"It makes no sense in any scenario, but particularly not here. Not in a nice neighborhood in Morton," Luciano wrote. "Not in a family of privilege. Not with a mother who is a physician, a person sworn to protect life."

According to the Peoria Tazewell Pathology Group's website, McCarron had been with the group since August 2001, specializing in dermatopathology, the study of the causes and nature of skin diseases.

"Morton woman accused of suffocating 3-year-old daughter" (Peoria Journal Star)

Affidavit of Probable Cause - PDF FILE (ITazewell County Court)

"Case doesn't make sense" (Peoria Journal Star)

Yet Another Murder (The Rettdevil's Rants - blog)

Dr. Karen McCarron (Peoria Tazewell Pathology Group)

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May 19, 2006 - InclusionDailyNews Department | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

Unfortunately, Luciano and the rest of the newspaper staff *are* making "sense" of things now.

His column from yesterday, May 19, was titled "Helping everyone but herself."

The mother - and alleged killer - is now the primary victim.

From the column:

"Autistic children often bring overwhelming demands and stress to family life, say parents of autistic kids. But McCarron's desperation - and,
a friend says, depression - pushed her to the extreme decision of snuffing out her daughter's life with a plastic bag."

And then it gets worse.

This is in *my* state.

Gonna see if I can get through to the columnist or any of the reporters at all with an alternative point of view.

Posted by: Stephen Drake on May 19, 2006 11:19 AM

Hey, you linked to me! Cool!

Ok. Now onto the icky stuff. Like how in another PJS article a mother, Sue Grimm (they used her name, I can too...), DEFENDED the mother. Mrs. Grimm has 2 high functioning autistic sons. But you know, it's all about how difficult it is for the parents.

The 2 things that disturb me the most about this case are how the DA isn't going for maximum sentence-in IL with a TYPICAL 3 year old murdered in such a way, the mother would be frying. Or lethal injectioning. Whatever, she'd be dead. There are multiple precidents of autistics being killed and the offenders getting off with a slap on the wrist (see and click on "right to autistic life" or something to that effect, you'll see the murder page listed). There's been plenty of cases of this same thing with other killings of others with disabilities as well. Just disgusting.

Second, this happened JUST AFTER a really revolting video from AutismSpeaks, where a mother said in front of her daughter with autism that she'd thought of driving off a bridge with the 2 of them, and only stayed alive for her typical daughter. Yes, this was said IN FRONT OF THE CHILD IN QUESTION. The whole video was a 13 minute pityfest. Whaaaa. It's all about the whineyautiemommies.

So. I'm not happy. I'm calling the DA of Tazewell County. I urge others who can find contact information to do the same. I also emailed the news station and the newspaper, but they probably ignored it. If enough people speak up, maybe they won't.

Stimming isn't a capital crime. It's a way of dealing with being a square peg in a round world.

Posted by: Kassiane on May 19, 2006 08:44 PM

I read the previous comments & it only makes me hurt more. It sickens me. For anyone who talks or thinks in concurrence with such positions as those above, they should all be ashamed. This is a TRAGEDY that every member of this family will have to carry and endure for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES...because Katie and her mom have always been loved. This is a good family who did everything for their daughter/granddaughter so that she could grow and be educated to the upmost of her abilities. The family is suffering two unbelievable losses. People should be opening their hearts in prayer for what has happened, give room to compassion for this family now suffering. This is not a time for harsh and vile words. Nothing can undo this sad horrible thing...a tragedy has happened. Let's not heave more of it at this family but think of them instead.

Posted by: A on May 23, 2006 06:05 PM

A, why is it that people only feel moved to support and embrace such families AFTER a crime like this? Support and embrace from the community BEFORE things get to the point of taking a life would do a lot more good in the world. Where were all the loving friends and neighbors when this child really needed them?

Posted by: Penny on May 23, 2006 07:08 PM

The murder is not about the family. First and formost it is about Katie. The public, incidentally, knows more about Karen than they do about Katie. That's pretty disgusting.

I don't feel sorry for murderers. I just can't. SOMEONE LIKE ME WAS KILLED FOR BEING LIKE ME. I know that's hard to wrap your head around. But lets face it, thats pretty enraging.

Instead of judging people who are showing the PROPER response to a murder of a child-outrage-maybe you should look inside yourself and see why you aren't.

The family CHOSE to lose. Losing a child is a tragedy. Murdering a child is a felony. The person I feel most sorry for who's still alive is the little sister. She is an innocent. And Katie never got a chance to live her life.

But it's ALWAYS all about the parents/family/everyone but the autistic. Been there, seen that.

Open your heart in prayer, perhaps, for all the autistic people who trust people who later go on to abuse or even kill them.

Think about it.

Posted by: Kassiane on May 24, 2006 02:02 AM

good point about it only being about the family. As parents most of us try to make it about our kids: when we deal with our local schools, dealing with support services (if there are any) but the focus even then is on us and not our our child; how screwed up we are because we have not yet figured out how: to work and do the 24/7 trip(yep, we do live in a capitalistic society), live without sleep, live without money, live without appropriate support services, live in a society which not only does not value the work you do but does not value your child as well and continues to exclude him/her despite the laws. You also have to have an amazing amount of patience when dealing with people out there. Respite? Whats that? But most of us keep it together somehow even in this age of budget cuts. And just because we sort of understand how something like this can happen does not mean there is going to be a sudden epidemic of us murdering kids with disabilities. We just realize that being on the frontline, having to communicate at times for our kids,take care of them 24/7 will take its toll and some of us are stronger than others and we all need to support each other. Rant/rave/whine,whatever. Make ourselves,our kids really visible out there. But despite everything I love this trip I have been on with my son. Sure I dont like being beat up in the car by my son while I am driving (Im being literal here) but most of the time the ride is pretty dang intersting. I just want a bit of help for my son and for folks to look at my kid, get to know him. An inclusive society is the way to go here.

Posted by: daria lynn on May 24, 2006 02:43 PM

Read the interview with Katie's grandfather at Here's the start:

Don't blame autism for the death of Katherine McCarron, says her paternal grandfather.

"I am positively revolted when I read quotes that would imply any degree
of understanding or hint at condoning the taking of my granddaughter's
life," says Michael McCarron, 62, of Indianapolis. " ... I'm dealing with
a very straight-forward murder case.

"This was not about autism. This was not about a lack of support." . . .

Rest of interview.

Posted by: Mary Johnson on May 24, 2006 03:12 PM

"First, do no harm." That's the first line of the ****ing oath, *every physician* takes.

So now it's, "First do no harm," unless your child is stimmy.

Like Katies grandpa, I am revolted.

Posted by: imfunnytoo on May 24, 2006 08:59 PM

All i can say right now is this, and that is what that women did to her child was wrong there is not justification for what she did. there is no way you can say well, its understandable sense the child had a disablity. you know regardless of that she still took someones life. that child deserved to live. it was not there fault that they turn out the way they did. trust me if the cards was dealt where she was autistic she wouldn't want to die. but then again she wouldn't have that choice if here mom felt that she needed to die because she felt that it was hard to live a life style with a child with that disablity. but life is hard and there are things that are going to feel that there is no way to accomplish. but ending a childs life autistic or not is still wrong and thats what i have to say about it

Posted by: ahja on May 25, 2006 01:59 PM

Ugh, I just re-read that "extreme decision" crapola and reconsidered its implications. What a disgustingly cowardly (I almost said "spineless", Mary, but thought better of it) approach -- to suggest that this "mother" merely made one of the more radical of her rightful choices.

Anybody see that "Echoes of Autism" drivel on (I think it was) ABC News last night? I got as far as "Autism has a profound effect on the family. PROFOUND . . ." -- and there's where I start throwing shoes.

Posted by: Evonne on June 1, 2006 12:33 PM

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