Texas Mom Described Strangling Her 2 Autistic Kids

Mother confesses, gives details of murder on 911 call.

July 22, 2010, 12:59 PM

July 22, 2010— -- A Texas woman has been charged with murder after allegedly strangling her two young children and then describing the crime to a 911 dispatcher.

Saiqa Akhter, 30, called 911 Monday at 5:08 p.m. and told the dispatcher, "I killed my both kids."

In an edited recording of the 911 call, she described how she first tried to poison the children, ages 2 and 5, with bathroom cleaner.

"I put in their mouth, but they don't drink it," Akhter said.

When that didn't work, she said she looked for an alternate means of killing them.

"So there is a wire in here, so I just grabbed their necks," Akhter told the dispatcher. "Then, they were no more."

By the time paramedics responded, both children were unconscious, ABC News Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV reported. According to police, Akhter was the only person home at the time, but her husband, Rashid Akhter, met authorities at the scene.

Zain, 5, was prounounced dead at a hospital, and Faraal, 2, was placed on life support but died at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the Dallas County medical examiner's office.

When asked why she strangled her kids, Akhter told the 911 dispatcher, "Both are autistic. I don't want my kids to be like that. I want normal kids."

Akhter was arraigned on a charge of capital murder of a person under 6 years of age on Wednesday morning at the Irving city jail. She is being held at the Dallas County jail with bail set at $1 million.

Because her daughter also died, she will face a second charge.

Her attorney is Richard Franklin of Dallas, according to the Dallas County jail. Franklin did not immediately return a call from ABCNews.com.

Rashid Akhter is not being charged with any crimes, according to Irving city police.

'Extraordinarily High' Stress Levels on Parents of Autistic Kids

Autism experts said that while they were saddened by the story, it was not completely unexpected.

"That a family got to that point of stress is unfortunately not uncommon," Marguerite Colston, vice president of constituent relations at the Autism Society, told ABCNews.com.

The Autism Society is a national grassroots organization that provides support groups for parents, education programs for professionals and public awareness campaigns.

"The stress levels on parents are extraordinarily high," she said, adding that one study found that "stress levels were comparable to combat soldiers.'"

"You're now a case manager and a specialist, and it's almost like you're not a parent anymore," Colston said.

Dr. John Lutzker, director of the Center for Healthy Development at Georgia State University and an expert in child maltreatment and autism, said dealing with autistic children can result in mental health problems for parents.

"Parents who have children with autism have disproportionate stress and depression compared with the general population," he said.

"It seems like this woman may have some other issues that went undetected," Dr. Lutzker said.

Her uncle, Wasimul Haque, agreed.

"It looks like she had mental problems," he told WFAA-TV. "I don't understand why she did it."

Akhter and her husband were referred to Child Protective Services in 2009. They admitted that they had left Zain sleeping at home while they rushed Faraal to the hospital with respiratory problems.

"They expressed that they knew that it was dangerous to do that and that it would never happen again," Marissa Gonzales, a Child Protective Services spokeswoman, told ABCNews.com.

Gonzales said CPS worked with the family for two months to connect them with resources to help with Zain's autism and Faraal's health difficulties.

"The children exhibited no signs of physical abuse in any way," Gonzales said.

The CPS case was closed in 2009.

CPS is part of the investigation into the latest case, but because there are no surviving children, Gonzales said police are taking the lead role.

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