Police said McCabe parked her car at end of the bridge in Newport, Ore., some 130 miles from Portland, and carried her son to the center of its arch. An officer said he saw a woman matching her description toting a boy about 6 p.m. local time. The officer said he thought it was strange because the child was, “too big to be carried,” according to a police affidavit.
After the incident, she dialed 911. An officer said she was still standing on the bridge talking on her cellphone when a deputy arrived on the scene.
“I just threw my son over the Yaquina Bay Bridge,” she told the dispatcher Monday night, according to a the affidavit, which was filed Tuesday in Lincoln County Circuit Court. After an hours-long search in two boats and a helicopter, authorities found the boy’s body floating in the bay.
Last year, a family member set up a crowdfunding campaign on YouCaring.com, asking for $50,000 to help McCabe care for her non-verbal autistic son and her husband, Matt, who had reportedly been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had a mass on his brainstem. The appeal ended eight months ago after raising more than $6,800.
“If you are a praying person, pray for us,” McCabe wrote. “I love my husband and he has taken care of myself and my son for years and years and now it’s time for me to take the helm. I am scared and I am reaching out.”
McCabe also posted videos on YouTube. One showed her husband in a hospital bed as her son played with the controls used to move it up and down. Another showed the boy sitting in a hammock. When McCabe asked whether he was happy, he didn’t respond. Then when she told him to say “help” if he wanted her to rock the hammock, he said, “help.” London’s uncle, Andrew McCabe, verified the videos and crowdfunding site to the Associated Press.
Tanya McCabe, London’s great-aunt, said McCabe talked about hurting herself, but no one in the family thought she could harm her own son.
“Jillian really struggled with her mental health and I know she was just out of her mind when this happened,” Tanya McCabe told NBC News. She said McCabe was admitted for psychiatric care more than once. “It was terrible what we went through to get her the help she did get. We worked full-time to get her the services but obviously they weren’t sufficient.”
In a YouTube video, McCabe said she was grateful for all the support.
“You are making this experience livable — versus pulling a ‘Thelma and Louise’ — which I’ve totally thought about,” she said. “I said it.”
McCabe did not enter a plea. A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 12.
“We’re all devastated,” Andrew McCabe told NBC News. “London was a good kid. He loved hats. And his Dad.
“She took him for a walk and did what she did.”