San Diego mother pleads guilty to drowning autistic son

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Just minutes after she drowned her 4-year-old autistic son in the family bathtub, Patricia Corby drove to the neighborhood police station in San Diego with his lifeless body wrapped in a blanket and admitted what she had done, police said.

On Thursday, sobbing uncontrollably, the 37-year-old Corby pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.


Corby was so overwhelmed by the task of caring for her son that she decided to kill him and then commit suicide, prosecutors said.

‘She felt like she had no life,’ a district attorney’s investigator said.

Her attempt to drown herself in the tub failed, according to prosecutors.

Corby faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison when sentenced Jan. 28 in San Diego County Superior Court. Under that sentence, she will not be eligible for a reduction due to ‘good time’ conduct credits.

In a plea bargain, a second charge of assault on a child under age 8 causing death was dismissed.

The victim’s father, Duane Corby, was in the court when his wife pleaded guilty. He was working on March 31 when his wife killed their son, Daniel. He told investigators that he had seen no sign of mental illness from his wife and that the couple had spent $70,000 in diagnosis and treatment for their son.


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--Tony Perry in San Diego