Autistic child dies; aides charged with manslaughter

As employees of O.D. Heck Developmental Center, both men were trained in how to properly restrain combative residents and also basic life-saving techniques, including CPR, said Heider.

The two men had taken Carey and another 14-year-old center resident to Crossgates Mall on Thursday, Feb. 15, said Heider. At approximately 6:30 p.m., the van left the mall and began heading west on Central Avenue towards Schenectady. Mall stopped to use an ATM machine when Tirado began struggling with Carey after he began acting up, said Heider.

"Between there and the Hess Mart at the 2200 block of Central (Avenue) and the Niskayuna (Schenectady) border, the boy stopped breathing," he said.

Heider would not say how Tirado restrained Carey, only that it was against center protocol and directly led to the suffocation of the boy.

According to Heider, with Casey unresponsive in the van, the two bought soft drinks at the Hess Mart and drove to a toy store at Mohawk Commons.

"Then they drove to one of the aide's homes in Schenectady and starting talking about what they are going to say," Heider said.

At 8:52 p.m., two hours after Carey had stopped breathing, Tirado and Mall contacted police and reported an medical emergency.

Jonathan's parents, Michael and Lisa Carey, who own Solo Auto Sales in Delmar, were out of town. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.

News of Carey's death has shocked area parents of autistic children and backers of legislation in the works to address abuses of autistic children.

"It's every parent's worse nightmare," said Delmar resident Bill Bussler, father of an autistic child. "When you entrust (your children) to others and to have that trust violatedit's an outrage."

Another father of an autistic son, Mike Smith of Clifton Park, said there needs to be legislation ensuring that the people who are in charge of restraining autistic and other special needs children are properly trained and suited to responding in a crisis situation.

"A lot of the legislators need to wake up on this. They need to make autism a priority," said Smith. "You can't have kids getting beat up all the time and you can't have kids dying this is the type of thing you can't have happening."

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