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Oregon Father Reflects On Year Since Son Was Killed

Matt McCabe
Matt McCabe holds his son London on a see-saw.

Matt McCabe lost his 6-year-old son one year ago. That’s when his wife at the time told police she had thrown their son London McCabe to his death from the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon.

Matt has been disabled by a brain tumor. London had autism. Matt says it’s not right to connect London’s autism, and the care it required, to his death -- even though many headlines did at the time.

People want to look for a reason why things happen and justify it somehow so they can move on and not think about it. But it was a tragedy that happened to a person and it affects a lot of people around. And it wouldn’t matter if he was typical or autistic. It was just a tragedy.

It’s a new life. The old life I had is destroyed.

I moved to The Dalles so I don’t have the memories of every day here of Newport, because everything does have memories. Going over the bridge is hard and going to restaurants is hard, and everything that has memories here.

I thought that it would be something I could endure for a short time and then I would get through it, but I am able to see that it’s a lifetime thing.

Parents of Murdered Children is a support group in Portland and I still attend that once a month. It’s a safe place to talk. I don’t have to but it bottles it up and makes me cry if I just let it bottle up for too long.

I feel more tenderness toward kids that I didn’t feel before. It would be good for parents to love their children, hug their children. They are a gift.

You don’t have to be typical to be loved or to love.

I have a disability. I have a brain tumor that is inoperable. I feel like I am just a person and I feel like other people with disabilities are just people too. I want other people to realize that. They think they have a lot but we’re all the same and anything can happen at any time. And you can lose that. That’s what happened to me.

I was normal and I didn’t look at people with disabilities or I didn’t think about it, really. And my son had disabilities and I wanted him to be normal, but in the end he didn’t have to be normal to be a lovable person.

I still haven’t learned how to enjoy things as a disabled person. But I am working on it still. He just had fun and he was better at it than I am, I guess.

He couldn’t communicate but he had a few words he was working on. He was always smiling. Everything was an adventure to him. I want life to be an adventure for me, too. I want to be able to smile like he did.

Matt McCabe spoke with reporter Lori Tobias.

He and London’s mother divorced and have not spoken since London’s death.

Jillian McCabe has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges. She has been held at the Lincoln County Jail in Newport pending trial.