The mother of a 14-year-old autistic River Grove boy and the child’s full-time caregiver explained in a suicide letter that they killed the boy because his emotional condition had deteriorated after a prolonged illness, prosecutors said today.
The child’s mother, Dorothy Spourdalakis, 50, and the caregiver, Jolanta Agata Skrodzka, 44, each were ordered held without bail this morning after being charged in the stabbing death of the teen.
Spourdalakis and Skrodzka initially tried to kill Alex Spourdalakis on Friday with an overdose of prescribed sleeping pills because they believed that his "emotional condition had deteriorated" after a recent prolonged illness, prosecutors said at the Cook County courthouse in Maywood said today. They also believed he was receiving subpar medical treatment, prosecutors said.
When the drugs failed to kill the boy, described by police as “severely autistic,” Dorothy Spourdalakis stabbed him four times in the chest with a kitchen knife, including twice in the heart, and then slit his wrist, almost severing his hand, prosecutors said.
Spourdalakis then gave the knife to the caregiver, who killed the family cat, which the two women said in the letter they did not want sent to a pound after their deaths. The women then cleaned the bloody knife and returned it to the butcher block, prosecutors said.
When the women were assured Alex was dead, they took several pills in an attempt to kill themselves, prosecutors said. They then went into the boy’s bedroom and locked the door.
Both women signed statements admitting their roles in the murder, prosecutors said.
“The murder was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner,” Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Maureen O’Brien said.
Prosecutors said Dorothy Spourdalakis initally discussed the plan with Skrodzka, who also was the boy’s godmother, and Skrodzka agreed to help.
Each woman is charged with first-degree murder and they were ordered held without bail. The women appeared in court in blue scrub-like outfits and were not wearing shoes.
Alex Spourdalakis had multiple wounds when discovered in his bed in the second-story apartment on West Grand Avenue Sunday afternoon, River Grove police Chief Rodger Loni said.
The two women were found in a semi-conscious state, police said Monday.
Authorities said the women had “issues” including “frustration” with the condition and care of the child including dealing with his with autism.
Alex was found when his father, who is separated from his mother, and his uncle went to the apartment after failing to reach anyone by phone, Loni said. The mother and the caregiver were taken to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, officials said. They were released from the hospital on Tuesday, the day they were charged with murder.
According to Loni, officers had been to the apartment numerous times to assist with transporting the boy to medical appointments. Loni said he was “severely autistic.”
“He was big and strong and unwilling to go to the doctor,” said Loni, who said the teen weighed more than 200 pounds. “We had to restrain and hold him down.”
DCFS spokesman Dave Clarkin said the agency received an abuse allegation regarding the youth in January but determined the accusation to be unfounded. The agency offered the family support services, but the offer was not accepted, he said.
The boy's mother three months ago accused a local hospital of neglecting and mistreating her son in TV news report.
The family residence is in a two-story brick building that has a plumbing business on the first floor.