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Prosecutors: Mother, Caregiver Killed Autistic Teen To End His Suffering

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Dorothy Spourdalakis (L) and Jolanta Skrodzka (R) are accused of killing Dorothy's 14-year-old autistic son, Alex, then trying to kill themselves. They allegedly believed Alex was not receiving sufficient medical care and wanted to put him out of his misery. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

Dorothy Spourdalakis (L) and Jolanta Skrodzka (R) are accused of killing Dorothy’s 14-year-old autistic son, Alex, then trying to kill themselves. They allegedly believed Alex was not receiving sufficient medical care and wanted to put him out of his misery. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

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Updated 06/12/13 – 12:56 p.m.

RIVER GROVE, Ill. (CBS) – Cook County prosecutors said a west suburban woman and family caregiver planned for at least a week to kill the mother’s 14-year-old son, because they believed he wasn’t getting sufficient care for his autism.

CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports Alex Spourdalakis was found dead from multiple stab wounds on Sunday in the River Grove apartment he shared with his mother and godmother. The two women were found nearby in a semi-conscious state.

His mother, 50-year-old Dorothy Spourdalakis, and his live-in caregiver and godmother, 44-year-old Jolanta Skrodzka, have been charged with first-degree murder. At a bond hearing at the Maywood courthouse on Wednesday, a judge ordered both women held without bail.


Prosecutors said the two women plotted for a week to kill Alex, who suffered from a severe form of autism, because they thought he had received inadequate medical care, and wanted to put him out of his misery.

Alex Spourdalakis, who suffers from severe autism, is seen in a YouTube video describing his ordeal. (Credit: YouTube)

Alex Spourdalakis, who suffers from severe autism, is seen in a YouTube video describing his ordeal. (Credit: YouTube)

On Friday, they allegedly gave him sleeping pills in an effort to induce a fatal overdose, but that didn’t work. Sometime later in the weekend, Dorothy Spourdalakis allegedly stabbed Alex four times in the chest, and slit his wrists, nearly severing one of his hands, according to prosecutors. Skrodzka then allegedly stabbed him several more times.

Skrodzka also allegedly killed the family cat, because the women didn’t want their pet going to an animal shelter.

After confirming Alex had died, the two women took sleeping pills in an effort to take their own lives, prosecutors said. Beforehand, Dorothy Spourdalakis allegedly wrote a letter explaining their plan to kill Alex and commit suicide.

Police were called to the Spourdalakis’ River Grove apartment on Sunday, after Alex’s father and uncle became concerned because they couldn’t reach anyone at the home. Alex’s father did not live with him.

The two men broke into the apartment, and found Alex dead in his bed.

“They went to the apartment to check on the well-being, because they weren’t answering their phone calls,” River Grove Police Chief Rodger Loni said. “He had received numerous stab wounds to his chest.”

Alex’s mother and caregiver were found nearby in a semi-conscious state, but uninjured. They were taken to the hospital for treatment. Prosecutors said the two later confessed to killing Alex and trying to commit suicide.

River Grove police were very familiar with Alex and his family, having been called to the apartment numerous times to help restrain Alex, or take him to the hospital, where he typically did not want to go. Alex was about 6 feet tall and weighed about 225 pounds.

Police had been called to the home seven times in the past seven months to help with Alex.

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