ELKO, Nev. (AP) - Prosecutors say an Elko County woman accused of killing her adult daughter with autism told investigators she “snapped” and strangled the 24-year-old because of pent up emotional stress from serving as her primary caregiver for decades.
Judith Zavala, 61, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 14 death of April Zavala.
The Elko Daily Free Press reports police documents filed in court this week indicate the mother struggled with April when she tried to get her out of bed and dress her.
Judith Zavala told police her daughter stopped breathing and fell to the floor. But she “panicked” and didn’t call 911, according to the court documents.
The mother told police her daughter was autistic from the age of 3. Her behavior had worsened in recent months, with “fits and outbursts,” forcing Judith Zavala to begin caring for her 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she told police.
“Exhausted and overwhelmed,” Judith Zavala said when April insisted dressing herself, she “snapped” and strangled her. She said she was “in shock” and “could not believe what she had done.”
The Elko County public defender’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
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