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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    WA - Otto Smith, 18, autistic, brutally slain, 14yo brother tortured, 13 April 2014


    An autistic teen was murdered at his Auburn home by his mother's live-in boyfriend, police said — and charges are expected soon.

    Police said Otto Smith, 18, was killed by Matthew Lee Christenson — a man with a history of assault. The death that happened in 2014 first came to attention of police months later when Christenson was arrested for allegedly beating Smith's younger brother...

    Mary S., a friend of Smith's mother, told detectives that the boys' mother disclosed she "watched helplessly" as her son died. Despite blunt force trauma to Smith's head, torso and extremities, his death was ruled "natural" by the King County Medical Examiner's Office. Investigators told KIRO 7 that Smith's mother — a long-time special education teacher — told everyone her son had "fallen down the stairs." Her story was "good enough that for months, it was believed," according to Myers.

    Detectives began their investigation on Dec. 22, after the teens’ mother arrived at Tacoma General Hospital claiming to have been kidnapped. According to charging papers, she ultimately told hospital staff Christenson killed Smith – she said she helped clean up the evidence – and tortured her surviving son, the 14-year-old...

    Prior to Christenson’s arrival, Smith had been seen regularly by a caregiver. The teens’ mother said Christenson forced her to cancel the help shortly after he moved in.

    The practicalities of caring for a severely disabled teen “really grossed Matt out,” the woman told police, according to a search warrant affidavit by Tompkins. Christenson cut holes in large trash bags, which he made Smith wear like a large diaper; he pulled the bags up to Smith’s armpits and then looped the drawstring around the teen’s neck.
    What the younger son endured:


    Five months of "horrific abuse" inflicted upon a minor. Those are the blunt words King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa used in court to describe what 42-year-old Matthew Christenson of Auburn is alleged to have done to the 15-year-old son of the woman with whom he was living for eight months in 2014.

    Indeed, the official account of what happened in that one Highline-area apartment paints a terrible picture of wanton acts of malignant cruelty, including all-night ice baths, forced, pointless marches up and down the apartment building's stairwell that lasted for hours, and forcing the boy to live in the bathroom and sleep on the floor there...

    According to court records, investigators found the woman "seemingly unable or unwilling to stop the abuse or protect her child," including the alleged ice baths. Asked to explain the ice baths, the woman speculated that "it was to reduce the swelling and bruising from the beatings Christenson inflicted," according to court records.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    I can't believe what I just read. Damnit.

    No free pass on mom and her sob story. Nice special ed teacher. Shudder.

    Poor kid tried to jump out of moving vehicle so he didn't have to come home to the horror. At least one son made it out alive.

  3. #3
    Damarna's Avatar
    Damarna is offline Verified State Coordinator for CFSI/ Insider - Parker Haluptzok
    Join Date
    May 2013
    SE Minnesota
    I cannot even begin to formulate a rational response...

  4. #4
    GigTu's Avatar
    GigTu is offline ѧѦ ѧ︵ ̧̱ι̵̱̊ι̶̨̱ ̶̱ ︵Ѧѧ︵ ̵̗̊o̵̖ ︵ѧѦ Ѧ ѧ
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    OMG! I wish I hadn't read this. Humans are such evil beings.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Thank you but nope. Do not have that in me right now.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Not the Bronx
    I am So sick of hearing all the excuses!! He made me, he won't let me, blah, blah, blah. This woman went to work every day. She had every opportunity to get help ( if needed) to remove the monster from her home. She CHOSE to let him abuse her children. Smh. I hope she rots right along side the other monster.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    East Tennessee
    She is worse than the boyfriend, IMO. MC is just evil. She allowed it to happen to her own children. A cat is a better mother than that.
    "If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it."
    - John Irving in A Prayer for Owen Meany

    Unless I provide a link or refer to a specific link, all my ramblings are theories, speculation, scenarios based on what info is available and my own unique life experiences.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    From September:


    King County prosecutors claim special education teacher Pascia Marie Backman helped Matthew Christenson hide the April 2014 killing of Otto Smith, her 18-year-old son.

    Charged with two counts of rendering criminal assistance, Backman is also accused of hiding abuse her surviving son suffered at Christenson’s hands...

    The younger boy is currently living with loved ones elsewhere.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    I'm glad she got charged... She won't be a very convincing witness in the murder trial though, given her past lies. The surviving son will have to testify, sadly, and let's hope he comes across as more truthful than his mother. If the ex says that Otto really did fall down the stairs and the mother made up this story out of malice, they might have a difficult time convincing a jury.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    I agree mother will probably not be held accountable even if she is convicted as an accessory. It seems these mothers always get leniency when, IMO, they are just as culpable when they stand by and watch their child be abused. I really would like to see more effort to hold mothers accountable for what happens to their child when the mother places them in harm's way. Unfortunately, I am not very hopeful of this coming to pass anytime soon.

    One would reasonably assume that after cases like this and the Teghan Skiba torture murder by mom's boyfriend, and countless other similar scenarios, people would take notice and demand something be done to protect minors from mothers who not only put them in harm's way but leave them there to suffer a litany of abuse. But, sadly, nothing changes.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Never heard of this case... Those disgusting , vile monsters ; _____. deleted (fill in the blank with your imagination )

    I usually skip reading these cases. Now I know why.

    Rest in gentle peace, Otto !!

    I believe he is in a place of light and peace , with no memory of the horrors inflicted on him. LOOK at his photo where he's by the lake or wherever, he's got a smile on his face. Maybe it was a special day/outing for him ?
    I hope his brother is doing ok !!

    What I'd like to do to that so-called 'mother' and her worthless bf.
    How about letting the punishment fitting the crime ?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Matthew Christenson, 45, convicted of second-degree murder in the 2014 killing of Otto Smith

    According to prosecutors and court testimony, Backman cleaned up Otto before calling 911,

    My .02 is that the so-called "mother" needs to be in prison as well.
    So disgusting !!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Judge throws book at 'devil' who tortured, killed autistic teen


    A man who tortured his girlfriend's son with ice baths, electric shocks and by rubbing cayenne pepper in his eyes before killing him was sentenced to 65 years in prison on Friday. In August, Matthew Christenson was convicted in the 2014 murder of 18-year-old Otto Smith, who had autism.

    "Otto was a loving, kind, gentle little boy in a young man's body," said Santos, addressing King County Superior Court Judge Chad Allred in his fourth-floor courtroom at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. "Everyone was drawn to him. He was loved, and this man took him away. And not only did he take him away, he made his last days his worst, and he destroyed many lives along the way. ... The defendant should spend the rest of his life in prison."

    Backman, a former special-education teacher in the Renton School District, pleaded guilty in November 2015 to first- and second-degree rendering criminal assistance.

    She wasn’t sentenced to jail time but was ordered to undergo two years of mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, with her progress monitored by the court, records show. Backman was also ordered to have no contact with her younger son, who is now 17.

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