GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A woman who appealed for money online to help care for her autistic son and disabled husband has been accused of throwing her 6-year-old boy to his death off an historic bridge on the Oregon coast.
Police said Jillian Meredith McCabe, 34, called 911 from the bridge in Newport as darkness fell Monday to report what she had done and waited until police arrived.
“I just threw my son over the Yaquina Bay Bridge,” McCabe told the dispatcher, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in Lincoln County Circuit Court.
She described her son, London Grey McCabe, and the clothes he was wearing, saying he was in the water and gone. Later that night, a body was reported in the water at a bayside resort about a mile from the bridge, and police said they confirmed it was the kindergartner.
“It’s a great tragedy,” said the boy’s great aunt, Tanya McCabe.
Andrew McCabe confirmed Tuesday that his sister-in-law had written an appeal on YouCaring.com, a crowdfunding website. In it she described caring for her autistic son and her husband, Matt, who has been unable to work since developing multiple sclerosis and a mass on his brain stem.
The appeal ended eight months ago, after raising $6,831 toward a goal of $50,000.
“If you are a praying person, pray for us,” Jillian 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.”
Andrew McCabe also confirmed that Jillian McCabe had posted YouTube videos, one showing her husband in a hospital bed and their son pushing a button to raise and lower it.
Jillian McCabe was expected to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of murder, aggravated murder and manslaughter. The aggravated murder charge, which carries a potential death penalty, was filed because the boy was younger than 14.
Police said she was from Seal Rock, south of Newport, but Andrew McCabe said they had lived in Hood River. He said his brother had a business doing email campaigns until he became disabled.
Police are asking anyone who saw the woman and child on the bridge to call detectives.
In the affidavit, a police officer writes that Jillian McCabe was still talking on her cellphone when a sheriff’s deputy walked up to her on the bridge.
Another officer says he saw a woman matching Jillian McCabe’s description carrying a boy matching London’s description on the bridge shortly after 6 p.m., and thought it odd because the boy was, “too big to be carried,” according to the affidavit.
The Yaquina Bay arched bridge, one of the most famous on the Oregon coast, opened in 1936. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It carries traffic for U.S. Highway 101 and rises more than 100 feet above the water.
In 2009, a woman tossed her two young children off a bridge in Portland, killing her 4-year-old son. A daughter, then 7 years old, survived. Amanda Stott-Smith was sentenced in 2010 to at least 35 years in prison.