Mother Who Killed Disabled Daughter Found Innocent Of Murder

Mother drowns disabled daughter in bathtub after suffering depression

The tragic news of a mother who drowned her disabled daughter in a bathtub after becoming clinically depressed has drawn sympathy from Mixi netizens.

The court heard that the woman, who felt despair despite increased help from her family and an improvement in an illness her daughter was suffering from, had intended to commit suicide after killing her daughter, who was 29 at the time of her death.

The judge ruled that the woman could not be held responsible for murder given the circumstances surrounding her actions, and netizens strongly agree, noting that unless you have experienced the difficulties of caring for someone with a disability yourself, then you cannot possibly know what the family went through.

Mother Found Innocent Of Murdering Disabled Daughter, Suspected Of Being Of Unsound Mind — Osaka District Court

On September 3, a judgement was delivered in the jury trial of a mother (58) accused of murder for having drowned her eldest daughter who had a mental disability (29 at the time). Judge Taguchi Naoki stated that “It is considered that she suddenly decided on a forced double suicide, and there is the suspicion that she was of unsound mind at the time”, and handed down an innocent verdict (the recommended sentence was 4 years).

The mother was accused of having drowned her daughter after submerging her in the bathtub at their home. The prosecution claimed that the woman was of diminished capacity, which although temporary, brought into question her criminal responsibility for a forced double suicide brought on by the burden of caring for her daughter as well as a despairing outlook on her daughter’s condition.

Judge Taguchi pointed out that her husband had been helping her care for their daughter and that there had been an improvement in the symptoms of the daughter’s illness. The judge rebutted the claims of the prosecution, saying that “The defendant, who, for a long time, had been devoted to her daughter, lacked rationality in deciding on a double suicide”, and judged that the cause of the murder could not be seen as anything other than clinical depression.

Comments from Mixi News:

I feel that an innocent verdict is correct here, but as a mother she probably wished they’d have found her guilty. I feel as sorry for the mother as the daughter, and they both tried as hard as they could, didn’t they?

It’s not the daughter’s fault for being born. Others can’t understand. For a family this is such a difficult, sad problem.

We have two children with disabilities in our family, so it’s not that I don’t understand the feeling that people get very depressed, but I’ve never wanted to kill my own child. I guess in the end one person was bearing all the burden.

Wasn’t there also something like “compassion to find her guilty”? There are some scars that won’t disappear unless you are given a punishment in society. Terrible.

I don’t suppose this is something you can comment on as a third person who doesn’t know the situation and who wasn’t there at the time…But the mother…even if she is legally innocent, I guess she will live with the burden of the crime in her heart…

This is a really tragic incident, but there are clearly extenuating circumstances, more so than for those idiots who perpetrate murder and violence but pretend to have some condition.

I don’t know whether this sentence is right or wrong, but the only thing I can say is that caring for someone who is disabled is way way harder than anyone can imagine.

No one else can understand how worried this mother was. I wish that they would give the expenses of those useless ex-bureaucrats in the private sector and the superfluous politicians in the Diet to help people like that. Our current Prime Minister is so defiant that he won’t reduce the number of politicians in the Diet. Big liar.

We have a child with a disability in our family too. I’ve never thought to lay a hand on him, but things are really difficult, so I understand how that woman felt to such a point that it hurts. It’s a terrible pity when if they’d had carers and others to help them they might have lessened the burden.

I don’t think that this is something others can really comment on. Some people are saying ‘Oh, so it’s ok to murder someone who’s mentally handicapped if you’re depressed, but that’s not what this verdict says at all. The problem is that everyone’s situation is different, and only the people who were in that situation at the time know how it feels.

I can’t help but feel that for this mother, an innocent verdict is a more severe punishment than tens of years in prison.

It’s hell if you live and it’s hell if you die. This was a choice made at the end of the kind of torment that only the mother herself can know. Everyone knows that it is wrong to kill.

I kind of feel that a guilty verdict with a suspended sentence would also have been a good option in this case…

More than a few times I’ve thought to myself that it would be easier if I murdered my child. But then I think of course my child is lovely, and I am the only one who can protect them!! I think that raising a child with a disability is a lot harder that anyone thinks.

Hmmmmm….We can’t say anything about this. Such a difficult thing goes beyond our imagination….

The only people who can tell that woman that she shouldn’t have killed her daughter are other parents of mentally disabled children. I guess there was no one around who could have helped the mother.

Come on Abe, we need a society where even if you have a disability you can live on the same level as able-bodied people…

Even the sentence recommended by the prosecution was 4 years, which seems like that had really considered the woman’s mental health more than the judgement did, but anyway, this woman might collapse under the strain of responsibility of her crime every time she tries to get back on her feet.

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  • crxrunn

    I was ready to condemn the mother until I found out the age of the daughter (29).
    So she’s taken care of her for half her lifetime, and the fact that she decided to do this now points to an inevitability rather than a rash decision that should be punished… I can’t imagine how hard it must have been all those years. I agree with one of the netizen comments above, only those who’ve been through similar situations should be able to tell her otherwise.

    • Quite frankly, I agree with the comments: it’s hell if you live, and hell if you die. There’s nothing for us to do but to have compassion for all the parties.

  • Cysorzowa

    Seems like she was on the edge. She was aging, severely depressed and probably left on her own with her problems. Maybe she was also concerned about her daughter’s future when she’ll become too old to take care of her. It seems she saw no hope for both of them. As it was already said in other comments, no one knows what she was through except people who were raising disabled children themselves. It’s a very sad story but I hope that there will be more appropriate help for other parents dealing with the same problems.

  • Max K

    I sincerely feel as if I am in the twilight zone after reading the comments here defending this mother murdering her child…Not only that, there seems to be more sympathy for the murderer than her poor child(whether 29 or not)! Is this all an elaborate prank? Anyone else feel that if it were her father who did this[murder his own daughter], that then the reaction would be different? Whatever the case, I’m disturbed by the comments from Japanese and those here on Japan Crush.

    • Read Cysorzowa’s comment. You and I don’t know what the Mother is going through and you don’t know how depressing everyday life is for the mother. Not much information is given, but everyone’s psychology is different. Apparently, her’s is weak. As for if it was a father, I’m pretty sure the judge wouldn’t be biased towards different sexes. Like I said, different psychology.

    • Cysorzowa

      I think you’ve got the wrong impression. It’s just because most of comments focused on mother’s feelings. No one was trying to defend or justify what she has done. We just want to understand why it happened. Of course you are right – the daughter is undoubtedly a victim here. She was disabled, totally dependant on her mother and this was not her fault. The life she deserved just like anyone else, was brutally taken from her. Yes, it’s cruel and it’s not fair. But condemning the act itself doesn’t mean we can condemn the mother just the way we would have condemned some coldblooded murderer. We just can’t plainly say that if she killed her daughter then nothing else matters. Depression is a serious mental disorder. The mother was depressed and for good reasons. Forgetting this would be also unfair. Trust me. I’m a mother myself. I would never try to justify a murdering of one’s child. But this case is much more complicated than that. And understanding the reasons can sometimes help prevent such things happen in the future, so it’s always worth doing.

      • KenjiAd

        I don’t agree the mother deserves sympathy. But we can agree to disagree.

        I think the ultimate test is this.

        Let’s say we can talk to the daughter now in the heaven. And ask her if she feels sympathy to her mother, someone who killed her by drowning. It’s not a nice way to die.

        • Cysorzowa

          “Let’s say we can talk to the daughter now in the heaven. And ask her if she feels sympathy to her mother, someone who killed her by drowning. It’s not a nice way to die.”

          And how about asking the Daughter if she – being in Heaven – misses her life as a disabled person?
          As you see there’s no simple question nor a simple answer that can “test” anything here. This case is no black/white one. The act of killing itself is bad or even evil. However if you want to really judge the killer you need to know more than that.

          In your comments above you also wrote:

          “But I think the depression must be so severe that, for example, would have required an immediate hospitalization of the mother (psychotic depression). I don’t believe that this mother’s depression was at that level even at the time of crime.”

          You don’t believe it? Why? She killed her own daughter. The one she gave birth to, the one she loved and cared
          for 29 years. How many mentally healthy women can even think of killing their own child, let alone do this. No, I don’t think so. It’s just all too often that someone’s depression is diagnosed only after some major tragedy occurs (a suicide for example). It’s usually done much too late. And it seems it’s a case here. Maybe the Mother should have been diagnosed and hospitalized long ago… Instead, she was left on her own and in spite of her mental instability she was let to take care of her disabled daughter. And here we have the grim outcome.

          “But I do know, statistically, there must be hundreds, if not thousands, of parents who are right now taking care of severely handicapped children with the same or even greater level of difficulties. And they are not killing the children.”

          Yes. And the Mother for almost 30 years was one of them. As all of them she was taking care of her child 24/7. No vacation, no weekends, no days off, no sick leaves… Just her own mental illness developing slowly. No help, no support, no hope for change. Nothing.

          “It is wrong and hypocritical to “understand” the killer mother.”

          Is it? In your opinion we shouldn’t take in consideration that she didn’t do this for the money or because of hate, envy, sadism or lust. What’s more she was uncapable to recognize what exactly she was doing due to her mental state.
          As for understanding, there’s no need for sarcasm here. We can’t prevent any kind of unwanted events if we don’t know the reasons behind them. The more we know, the more we can do. But that of course needs much more effort that quick “good vs evil” judgements.

          “I wonder what the same netizens would have said if the mother had killed a little defenseless puppy.”

          And I wonder what would you say if for example the Daughter had done it. In fact many innocent animals are killed by children and/or mentally ill or slow people. In such cases we condemn the act of cruelty but we can’t put the legal responsibility on killers. And so it is in this case.

          No, Kenji. I’m really sorry, but as I wrote earlier this is not simple and obvious case. I respect your opinions as I can understand your emotions, but I still disagree with your conclusions.

          • Kiwi

            People can’t euthanize others at their own discretion just like how people can’t decide who lives and who dies. I can’t belevie you’re questioning whether the daughter even wanted her life. People are making it sound like the daughter was the cause of her suffering. Poor mom, she was forced to take care of the disabled daughter. As if the daughter was the source of suffering that needed to be eradicated. It’s these types of attitudes that alleviates the victimization of disabled people everywhere.

    • KenjiAd

      I felt the same way.

      Yes it’s not difficult to feel that the mother is “Kawaisou.” (“Kawaisou” is a difficult word to translate into English. It is usually translated as “pitiable” or “pathetic” but “kawaisou” doesn’t have the negative connotation of contempt often associated with “pitiable/pathetic.” “Kawaisou” in Japanese is more like “deserving sympathy.”)

      But the daughter… oh my god, she was killed by drowning by the person whom she most trusted. I was very disturbed by the overwhelming sympathy to the mother, and only a casual pity to the handicapped daughter who was very brutally murdered.

      I wonder what the same netizens would have said if the mother had killed a little defenseless puppy.

    • Thor

      The real culprit in this matter is the society as a whole. This tragic ending is not only a case of the mother’s depression but also with the lack of institutions able to take good care of a disabled person. My only sibling, my older brother, was mentally handicapped. It took about 30 years of his life and my parents’ to find the right community home suited to his needs, in which he could stay for the rest of his life, and we’re talking about a developped country.

      If their daughter had a place to stay at (outside of her family home) , I reckon this affair would have never ended that badly. Government policies have a lot to answer for.

  • MeCampbell30

    No one takes care of a child for 26 years only to kill the child later. Definitely temporary insanity.

    • The worst part in these cases is that even as a bystander, you can’t help but feel a tremendous amount of sadness for when the mother finally does become healthy again, because she will have to face a reality in which she killed her own daughter.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    30 years of pain and suffering, seems like the despair won out in the end.

    I am sad that this has happened. I hope the mother can stop suffering in the end as well, not through suicide but by finding peace of mind somehow.

    • Kiwi

      She will have to keep reminding herself that she gained peace in life by relieving herself from a burden.

  • John Snow

    The real crux of the problem is what will the daughter do after the parents are gone. You know. I know Japanese people do have a long life expectancy but it is still sad.

    Also, the mother is what 60 years old. What is justice system going to do to her? She is really no threat to the public. You lock people who are threat to public. Its not like she is going around the neighborhood drowning people in her bathtub.

    Locking her up would just drain national resources. I mean living a life knowing that you killed your daughter, your flesh and blood is enough of a punishment I think.

  • bumfromkorea

    It’s a “Can’t condone, but understand” situation. It’s just so tragic at every facet of this story.

  • KenjiAd

    Wow, this is a disturbing story.

    This judge is simply insane (is “insanity defense” applicable for a judge?). The prosecution must appeal its ruling.

    The standard for insanity defense must necessarily be very high. Most people who commit a murder are emotionally disturbed, at least at the time when they killed someone. They were indeed “insane” in the casual sense of this word, so the “legal insanity” must be way more severe than simply being depressed or having lost a mind temporarily.

    Clinical depression, which this mother might have been suffering from, could be an element of insanity defense. But I think the depression must be so severe that, for example, would have required an immediate hospitalization of the mother (psychotic depression). I don’t believe that this mother’s depression was at that level even at the time of crime.

    The Japanese netizens’ comments were disturbing, too. Let us not pretend that we understand the difficulty that this killer mother must have been going through. At least I don’t.

    But I do know, statistically, there must be hundreds, if not thousands, of parents who are right now taking care of severely handicapped children with the same or even greater level of difficulties. And they are not killing the children.

    It is wrong and hypocritical to “understand” the killer mother. An intellectually handicapped person still has an intellect far greater than an average dog. They can feel happiness and pain, even though they may not be able to express it in the same way a “normal” person can.

    What this mother did, even if it’s not illegal at this point, was immoral. There is no other way of describing what she did.

    You can’t kill a person who wants to live but can’t defend him/herself, and then turn around and say I was crazy. You can’t do that.

  • Smith_90125

    Canada had a similar case in 1993. Robert Latimer was convicted and sent to prison (released in 2008) for the mercy killing of his disabled daughter. Many people – the same person, like me – empathized with him AND his daughter. The killing was termed “compassionate homicide” by some.

    In the case of the Japanese woman, she’s 58 and her daughter was 29. I don’t know her, but I’d bet the issue of care is part of why she did it. I suspect she felt she couldn’t physically care for her daughter anymore, and she didn’t know how to ask for help, didn’t know where to get help, or she was too proud to ask for help.

  • nip

    The mother was not charged because the child was Korean.

    • sakura kou

      I dare you show yourself , you coward trolling on such senstive article , you heartless Bitch

      • Guest

        IT is no one but THE obsseive puppet=Chucky3176.
        IT looks so smelly disgusting the EXISTENCE even in this virtual forum.

  • Anna

    I can’t. The sympathy for this woman disgusts me.

    Raising a mentally disabled child is not easy, and I’m speaking from experience, but that does not mean she should get off scott free. The most this woman will suffer is a supposed guilt…. and it looks like everyone is right behind her, patting her back.

    There was more care for this woman than her child. Smh

  • Korea1Disqus1

    only in Japan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sakura kou

      Happen all around the world , you are such pathetic troll

  • KoreaEmail2Disqus

    She drowned her own daughter. Disable or not. Mentally seriously wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • onewordtest

    If you won’t feel sympathy for a parent who murders a non-disabled child you shouldn’t feel sympathy for a parent who murdered their disabled child. We (disabled people) do not have lives that are inherently worth less and our murders by anyone, especially our caretakers, are not inherently more “understandable”. Disgusting comments from the majority.

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