Police: Mom And Son Likely Jumped From Bridge
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 24, 2006
HULL, ENGLAND--Police continue to search for the body of Alison Davies nearly two weeks after she apparently committed suicide by jumping off of a bridge along with her 12-year-old son.
Investigators have been able to piece together a timeline of events that took place on April 12. They believe that Davies, 40, traveled with her son, Ryan, from their home in Stockport to Hull, about 150 miles away. Just before 4:00 p.m., closed circuit television cameras mounted on the Humber Bridge captured images of two people, believed to be the mother and son, climbing over the railings -- about eight seconds apart from each other -- and presumably falling more than 100 feet to the estuary below. Because of the poor quality of the footage, investigators could not be certain that the images were of the pair, nor could they determine who leapt first.
The body of Ryan, who had Fragile X syndrome, autism and learning disabilities, was found four days later 20 miles upstream from the bridge. An autopsy revealed no physical trauma to the boy except for the injuries believed to have been caused by the fall.
Investigators said that Davies, who experienced depression and had not taken her medication, left a suicide note saying that she felt she had failed as a parent and worried she had become a burden on her family.
One of Davies' friends said that she had recently become despondent, particularly after a parent support group was forced to close due to lack of funding.
Tracy Hinds, who has two children of her own with disabilities, described Davies as a doting mother who was dedicated to caring for her son, including making sure he was enrolled in a mainstream school. Hinds told the Stockport Express that Ryan was a happy, bubbly boy.
"All the children on the estate liked him and looked after him. He was always out playing. Lads would be playing football and he would just join in," Hinds said.
"Alison did her very best by him. He was her first priority. She probably took Ryan with her because she wouldn't want to leave him behind."
Two charities representing families of children with autism faulted social services for failing to provide enough support for the single mother.
Investigators are puzzled by two pieces of evidence that came to light shortly after the pair disappeared. One is an emergency phone call Davies is believed to have made from the bridge just minutes before the cameras picked up the images of two people going over the side. The caller did not give the operator many details before she abruptly hung up the phone, but asked for police to tell her mother that everything would be all right.
The other is footage taken from a closed-circuit camera at the Hull train station at 2:38 that day. The pictures show the mother and son walking closely together, with no hint of what was going to happen a little over an hour later.
"CCTV footage released of mother and son's last journey" (The Times)
"Search continues for dead boy's mother" (ITV)
"If wed known, maybe we could have helped her" (Stockport Express)