San Diego woman sentenced to prison in drowning of autistic son

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A 37-year-old San Diego woman who told police she killed her son because of the burden of caring for an autistic child was sentenced Monday to 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

Patricia Corby drowned her 4-year-old son, Daniel, in the family bathtub March 31 while her husband was at work, according to evidence submitted in court.


‘I hate you with all my heart and soul,’ Duane Corby told the woman before San Diego County Superior Court Judge Charles Gill sentenced her for the death of the boy.

After killing her son, she tried to commit suicide but failed, according to evidence.

She wrapped the boy in a blanket and took his lifeless body to a police substation responsible for their Carmel Valley neighborhood.

Under Gill’s sentence, Corby will not be eligible for a reduced sentence due to good behavior while in prison. Corby’s husband told investigators that he had never seen any signs of mental illness in his wife.

The family had spent $70,000 trying to find help for their son, according to evidence in court.

Corby kept her head bowed in court as relatives told the judge about the pain caused by the boy’s death, including an aunt who said the boy is probably looking down from heaven and asking, ‘Mama, why did you kill me?’


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Photo: Patricia Corby at arraignment. Credit: Fox-5 San Diego