Trial ordered for Carmel Valley woman accused of drowning autistic child in bathtub


By City News Service

A woman accused of drowning her 4-year-old autistic son in a bathtub, then driving his lifeless body to a police substation where she allegedly admitted the crime, was ordered recently to stand trial on murder and assault charges.

Patricia Corby faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted in the March 31 death of her son, Daniel.

According to testimony at a day-long preliminary hearing, Corby allegedly contemplated suicide before holding her son down in several inches of water until he was lifeless in the family’s Carmel Valley condominium.

Corby, 36, cried and kept her face covered with her hair during the entire hearing.

District Attorney’s Office Investigator Walter Escobar testified that Corby told him that her son — diagnosed with a high likelihood for autism — had made strides in his battle with the disease but not enough to satisfy her.

Corby, who cared for her son at home, felt she had no time to do anything, Escobar testified.

She felt like her whole existence was dedicated to her child,’’ Escobar testified.She felt like she had no life. She wanted Daniel to be normal.’’

Escobar testified that Corby told him that after she killed her son, she tried to drown herself but couldn’t.

Corby realized what she did was wrong and drove to the police substation 4 miles away to turn herself in, Escobar said Corby told him.

A police officer tried to resuscitate the child, but paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The victim’s father, Duane Corby, was at work at the time of his son’s death, police said.

He testified that he and his wife amassed $70,000 in debt getting their son numerous types of treatment.

Duane Corby testified that he saw no signs that his wife suffered from any mental disease before she allegedly killed their son.

He said officers came to his workplace around 1:45 p.m. the day of the incident.

They said my wife had killed my son,’’ the witness testified, saying he wasstunned’’ for quite some time at the news.

Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth ruled that enough evidence was presented for the defendant to stand trial. Arraignment was set for Sept. 19.