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Alex Spourdalakis' mother, godmother charged with first degree murder: Police

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
First degree murder charges have been filed against Dorothy Spourdalakis, the mother of a teen with severe autism found stabbed to death in west suburban River Grove.
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First degree murder charges have been filed against Dorothy Spourdalakis, the mother of a teen with severe autism found stabbed to death in west suburban River Grove.

River Grove Police say they are both on suicide watch Tuesday night at the police station.

Police now say Dorothy Spourdalakis and another 24/7 caregiver and close family friend, Jolanta Agatha Skrodzka, have told investigators it was all too much: they tried to end the pain for Alex and themselves. The weapon, which had been missing, was found, wiped clean, inside the home.

"They cleaned the knife, they put the knife back in the butcher block and took the pills and laid down in bed next to him," said River Grove Police chief Rodger Loni.

Kathleen and Tony Falco know the feelings of hopelessness and isolation.

Their 21-year-old son Frankie was also diagnosed with severe autism as a 2-year-old. He's now 21, six foot two and more than 200 pounds. Frankie now lives in a group home.

"One of the biggest difficulties we have is having him hurt not only himself but hurt people, other people," said Kathleen Falco. Those who know the family say it is tragic end to a long and desperate search for help.

A video from the Autism Media Channel on YouTube shows Alex Spourdalakis in February during one of many hospitalizations. His mother can be seen tenderly washing Alex's feet.

"Dorothy, the mother, had absolutely nowhere to go, nowhere to live. With this boy, she would go from motel to motel," said Polly Tommey, Autism Media Channel.

Polly Tommey and her Autism Media Channel worked with Dorothy Spourdalakis - recording these public pleas for help.

"He needs something simple, in the country, where he can run around, get the treatment that he needs so he can get better," said Dorothy Spourdalakis, Alex's mother, in the YouTube video.

"She was crying and so was the godmother. They were both in a terrible state - that's why we did that plea in the hospital for help," said Tommey.

The help never came. Over the weekend, police went to an apartment above a River Grove plumbing company and Alex was found stabbed several times. His mom and godmother at his side, alive but unconcious. There was a three page letter describing the ordeal of caring for a severely autistic- and sometimes violent- teenager.

Polly Tommey feared the breaking point was near when she last spoke with Alex's mom.

"She didn't know what was going to happen, how it was going to end. She just kept saying this was the end of Alex," said Tommey.

According to River Grove police, it was about 3:00 p.m. on Sunday that they came to the second floor apartment to conduct a well-being check. Police said they were called to the scene after the boy's father and uncle failed to get in touch with him or his mother. Police found Alex Spourdalakis, 14, stabbed to death in bed.

Families of children with severe autism say help from the state is frequently hard to come by. Services are often simply not available, they say.

A DCFS spokesperson says that Dorothy Spourdalakis was offered services, but she refused.

Spourdalakis and Skrodzka are will be in court Wednesday morning.

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