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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    OH - Gertrude 'Trudy' Steuernagel, 60, beaten to death, Kent, 29 Jan 2009

    Im really worried about the son being in prison...he is autistic, I hope they send him to a mental hospital, prisons are not equiped to care for autistic people.

    KENT, Ohio – A Kent State University professor who was fatally beaten in her home was devoted to caring for her 18-year-old autistic son, who is charged with attacking her, friends say.
    Gertrude "Trudy" Steuernagel, 60, struggled to raise her son Sky Walker, but she loved him and would want people to know that autism doesn't equal violence, said Steven Hook, chairman of the school's political science department, where Steuernagel taught political theory and women's studies.
    Steuernagel died Friday in a hospital, a week after she was severely injured in a beating.
    An autopsy completed Monday showed bruises around her head and chest, said Gary Guenther, an investigator with the Summit County medical examiner's office. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    dc area
    how sad! i just googled her name and found this: http://www.kent.edu/polisci/People/steuernagel.cfm.

    looks like she wrote some papers on autism. i'm guessing the pic in the corner is a (older) picture of her family including the son that beat her.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Cajun Country, Louisiana
    I have a friend (a 17 year old with Autism) and I can honestly tell you that he is capable of doing EXACTLY this type of thing, and NO WAY would he be responsible if he did. His family is struggling right now because they desperately want to keep him at home, and he LOVES being at home, but his behavior is difficult if not impossible to control. He decided one day to go for a walk. Granny said no. He knocked her out of the way and went for a walk. He didn't look at Granny as a separate human being who needed to be treated gentley. He saw Granny as "what is standing between me and the door." It took two police officers to capture him and get him back home.

    This woman loved her son, and it sounds like she was doing what she could to keep him at home----right down to barricading herself in a closet to keep him from harming her-----and with very little help. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know this young man doesn't belong in jail.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Very good feature article from December 2009:


    On Sept. 14, after listening to evidence that included a DNA match of Trudy's blood to the blood found on Sky's feet, Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow ruled that Sky murdered his mother.

    But, since Sky was not competent for trial, Enlow dismissed the charges and ordered him to remain at the Northwest Ohio Developmental Center. The commitment was, in essence, a life sentence, because it is unlikely the court will ever release him...

    Bill Steuernagel still has the letter Trudy wrote and locked in her safe. At first, Trudy's family decided not to reveal to outsiders what it said. One of Sky's lawyers told them it might give autism a black eye. Another said it might make Trudy look bad. Recently, the family reconsidered.

    "I know my sister well enough that this just didn't come out of nowhere," Bill says. "She meant for it to be read." So Bill read it aloud, stumbling as he focused through tears on his sister's words.

    "To whom it may concern:

    "If this letter has been opened and is being read, it is because I have been seriously injured or killed by my son, Sky Walker. I love Sky with my whole heart and soul and do not believe he has intentionally injured me. I have tried my best to get help for him and to end the pattern of violence that has developed in this home. I believe my best has not been good enough. That is my fault, not Sky's. Numerous people know about the violence and many have witnessed it. We have all failed Sky. I do not want him to be punished for actions for which he is not responsible.

    "Trudy Steuernagel."

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