I get a google alert every day about news with Fragile X syndrome. There were a ton of them today because a woman has reported that Chris Benoit’s son had fragile X syndrome. For those not familiar with the tragic story you can find it here. A lot of people are stating that the stress of dealing with the syndrome could have led Benoit to kill his wife and child.
One article that I found stated:
So what could drive an otherwise decent person to such heinous acts? Something must have, or else all of his friends misjudged him over the years and he was just a murderer waiting to happen his whole life. The stress put on he and his wife when his son Daniel was diagnosed with fragile X syndrome – which a woman in Vancouver with a son with the same condition said in a published Vancouver report yesterday – could have dramatically changed his demeanor, his outlook on life, the demands on him as a father, and more. Fragile X syndrome is the type of condition that, on the surface, appears to demand a major change in the lives of the parents raising the child. Absentee dads and a single mom at home doesn’t sound like a great fit for a child with fragile X syndrome, which has mental retardation, physical complications, and autism among the traits. That could have put tremendous stress on Chris and Nancy, affecting their marriage, her desire for him to be on the road most of the time, and his outlook on his long-term responsibilities as a father. One media report this week said Benoit’s son was so undersized for his age, he could be “considered a dwarf.”How Chris and Nancy coped with this development in their lives is part of the fabric of trying to understand this story and what may have prompted volatility in their marriage and Chris eventually cracking – especially when the concoction of other factors in his professional life are taken into consideration.
I’m deeply troubled that this man could do this to his child and wife, no matter the reason. And I can’t say if FXS played a role on its own, in the mix of everything, or not at all. Only the man involved can.
This isn’t the only case of a parent killing their FXS child and then themselves. On April 12, 2006 Alison Davies climbed on a bridge with her 12 year old FX son and they both went over. The article can be found here.
When the Davies family perished a lot of people yelled for better access to resources and help for parents. From my understanding the Benoit family had the money and resources for help. So what went wrong? I still feel the tragedy was fueled by roid rage and not FXS but maybe it did lead him over the top.
Only time may tell or we may never know but I hope that other families struggling with fragile x & autism can get the services necessary to cope before this happens again.