The murder of a 9-year-old boy by his sister, 12, has gripped the nation and people are wondering: What turns a seemingly ordinary kid into a murderer?
The Oklahoma girl stabbed her brother three times with a kitchen knife in January in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack before waking up her mother and tearfully revealing what she had done.
Doctors have warned that certain drugs or an undiagnosed personality disorder could drive a child to homicide ? now that the girl had just come off an unnamed ADHD drug.
Dr. Stuart Fischer, a New York-based emergency room expert, warned that drugs can create a “perfect storm” in children that can cause behavioral changes, turning children homicidal or suicidal in the most extreme cases.
A family torn apart: Mom April Lyda with her son Zander on a family GoFundme appeal after his 12-year-old sister was accused of stabbing him to death
Zander Lyda was stabbed to death on January 5 in Tulsa, Oklahoma
The gruesome Oklahoma case resurfaced this week with the release of harrowing bodycam footage of the girl’s arrest and her mother, April Lyda’s conversations with police.
The footage shows the girl, who is not naming DailyMail.com, storming down the stairs shouting “I’m sorry” several times between choking sobs.
As she is handcuffed, the girl sobs, ?I’m so sorry, I don’t know what happened. It’s demonic shit.?
In an interview yesterday, her mother also revealed how the girl had been taking ADHD medication shortly before the attack.
She said her daughter was back on medication after she returned to school. But within a month, when she started cutting off her arms, doctors decided to cut her off again.
The young girl cut herself again the night before the attack on her brother, Zander, who was asleep in bed at the time.
The boy died of his injuries a short time later. But in footage released by the Tulsa Police Department, the mother and daughter both believe the boy is still alive.
Dr. Fischer warned DailyMail.com that drugs may have been the driving force that turned the child into a killer.
He said that when combined with other medications, such as asthma medications, ADHD medications can have unusual interactions.
He described it as a “perfect storm of drugs that you could probably see a behavioral change in the person that could become “dangerous or pathological” in extreme cases.
Common ADHD drugs used in the US, such as Adderall, can cause a range of side effects, including psychosis, a loss of contact with external reality, mood swings, depression, and panic attacks.
Quitting the drugs can also cause a series of withdrawal symptoms, with the addiction taking center stage Orlando recovery center says includes psychosis, paranoia and hallucinations.
Psychiatric medications intended to treat depression and anxiety, such as Zoloft and Prozac, called SSRIs, can sometimes cause suicidal thoughts, as well as hallucinations and homicidal thoughts.
Prednisone, a steroid that relieves pneumonia that helps people with severe asthma when they experience an attack, can also cause it .
Ms Lyda claimed her daughter started having behavioral problems when ‘she was put back on medication she hadn’t used for over a year’.
At the same time, police reported that the young girl had a history of self-harm.
Dr. Fischer said: ‘People who taper off prednisone can become very depressed. It has a psychological side effect. This is not alternative medicine and it is not intended to treat psychiatric problems.
?This is complicated chemistry, what [the medicine] do. It cannot only have good effects. It is inconceivable that such an important medicine as an asthma medicine only has a positive effect.’
Recently released police bodycam footage after the attack begins with the girl running downstairs shouting, “I’m so sorry. I’m very sorry’
The handcuffed girl then leads police to the knife she supposedly used to stab her brother, which she had thrown from a window
In a 2003 case study published in the Canadian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Reviewresearchers from Newfoundland, Canada reported on an eight-year-old boy who was taking corticosteroids for his asthma and began experiencing hallucinations and delusions.
These included visual disturbances such as seeing women dancing in grass skirts and claiming that ‘ladies’ noses looked weird’.
The young boy also began to feel very suicidal and said he had to serve the devil.
Finally, the doctor took the boy off the corticosteroids and his delusions and paranoia disappeared.
Dr. Fischer also suggested that a personality disorder can lead a child to suddenly become a murderer.
He said, ‘Something has been activated [the mood change]. In this case, the prednisone may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Someone who has an underlying condition can go over the line because of this.”
Disorders that can cause violent behavior in children include antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), in which individuals show disrespect for the rights of others, and borderline personality disorder (BPD), in which people may be prone to intense anger, impulsiveness, or emotional instability.
Almost as soon as the stabbing was committed, the 12-year-old appeared remorseful, yelling “I’m so sorry,” “I don’t know what happened,” and “God, please help me.” What the f***. Please. F*** please.’
Ms Lyda, who rushed to hospital with her injured son while her daughter was being held by police, said she had been sleeping upstairs when the attack happened.
Pictured: The Family Center for Juvenile Justice in Tulsa, where the 12-year-old girl was held after the fatal stabbing in January
There are also religious undertones in the mother’s written explanation, which included lines like “they were raised as God-fearing children” and “Like any 12-year-old child who wasn’t allowed to swear or watch scary bad movies.”
This has led many online observers to speculate that Ms. Lyda’s religious beliefs were overbearing to the 12-year-old girl, who may have rebelled.
Although it has not been confirmed that the girl had taken prednisone, it is a drug that can cause marked mood swings when stopped and started abruptly.
The girl is in juvenile detention with the Tulsa Police Child Crisis Unit in charge of the investigation. According to the Tulsa Police Department, she is being held at the Family Center for Juvenile Justice.
This is the second homicide this year in the city of Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department’s Child Crisis Unit said.
Tulsa Police Chief Franklin tweeted, ?All homicides are tragic, but the second homicide in 2023 in Tulsa shows a definitive social problem. The question is: how does society deal with a child who kills another child?’
Ms. Lyda raised money on GoFundMe to help her move. She said her daughter was a “normal” teen who never even “yelled” at her until she went back on an unspecified drug she had been off for a year.
?They were good kids? they were raised as God-fearing kids and never had any behavior problems until she got back on meds that she was off for over a year,? she said.
A motive has not been made public, but the young girl is receiving unspecified medical treatment indefinitely.
What makes a kid a killer? ‘Perfect storm’ of medication may be cause