Features Monday, October 27, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | October 21, 2014 | 5.58 pm IST Kelli Stapleton tried to kill her daughter and herself. She is now in jail. Kelli did not have mental health problems, but her daughter Issabelle, is autistic. Does Kelli deserve sympathy if Issabelle was a violent autistic child who once knocked her mother unconscious and sent her to the hospital twice? According to a report in New York magazine, Kelli and her husband and sent her to a clinic for seven months, which had initially reported improvement in Issy’ss behavior and Kelli believed her life would change. But the very first day, Issy hit her mother.  Kelli was more of a target than her husband. New York magazine reports: “Typically, it’s directed against their mother, because she’s smaller, usually the one saying no, and also there more often. Issy has hit Kelli so hard that she’s knocked her unconscious; twice she has sent her mother to the hospital. This hit barely made Kelli stumble—a “glancing blow,” she said. Matt later called it just a “hair pulling.” But Kelli couldn’t let it go.” The next disappointment came when she and her husband were trying to get her enrolled in a high school and “nobody wanted her”. After the meeting with the school authorities, Kelli began to look for a knife because: “I could just plunge it into my heart,” she said. “I was so in pain because of this disappointment, and I really felt if I should go to Jesus and just ask him, grab him by the lapels and say, ‘This little girl needs help, and I can’t do it. You must!’  The article details he efforts Kelli put into teaching Issy simple things. She had extensively read up on autistic children and psychological therapies used to deal with such children. One day, when she looked at her younger daughter Ainsley, she realized how much smaller she was than Issy and felt that a tragedy was coming.  She would blog Status Woe. She once wrote in a post called “Domestic Abuse and Why I Stay With My Abuser”: “I’ve been bruised from head to toe, knocked unconscious, suffered injuries that were visible and others that weren’t. I’ve had to make decisions about going out in public because of how my face looked, and what to wear to best cover my bruises and contusions. I’ve had a bank close my account because my signature never matched my signature card … but it doesn’t if your fingers are broken, strained, and sprained. And If I am killed, I hope I don’t get revived by some well-meaning EMT or ER doctor. I would hate to have to die like that TWICE!  She planned to kill herself and her daughter by suffocating to death, but they were found by Kelli’s friend with varying levels of carbon monoxide poisoning. Matt’s relatives never liked Kelli and they dint think she was much of a mother. They dint think that Kelli meant to kill herself.  New York magazine reports: “Kelli was already talking in the ambulance and refused treatment, saying she was supposed to be in Heaven. She told the same story to the nurses and the child-protective-services workers that she tells today, only with a few crucial shifts in detail the Stapletons did not fail to notice. Sometimes she says they were going to Heaven together, and sometimes she says she was “escorting” Issy to Heaven or “I was supposed to deliver her safely there and maybe God would send me back and maybe not.” Kelli maintains that she bought the equipment to kill herself and Issy the day before she actually attempted it, but a shop receipt shows that she had it the day before Issy came back from the clinic.  New York magazine reports: “By the third day of testimony, between the friends and enemies and psychiatric experts, a more or less coherent picture of Kelli began to emerge. She’d been assaulted as a child by her brother and left unprotected by her own mother. She may have had a ¬personality disorder of some kind that led her to seek attention in unreasonable ways. Perhaps she lacked what one psychiatrist called “ego glue,” the capacity to hold herself together when things got rough. Her concussions left her more vulnerable. After being hit so much, she suffered from PTSD, so that when her hair was pulled at the front door that day, she was primed to mistake a firecracker for a grenade.” Kelli had pleaded guilty and felt that she should be in prison for a long time. New York magazine reports: “Kelli herself was not among the dissatisfied. In a short statement, she had asked the judge to sentence her to 15 years, one for every year of Issy’s life up until now. She promised the judge she would do no more interviews, no more writing, and she would never mention Issy’s name again. “I am not worthy to speak her name,” she said. “She is not the monster. I am.”