Missing boy: Body found in river — (Manchester Evening News)

SSRI Ed note: Mother taking medication for depression jumps off bridge with her autistic son, killing both.

Original article no longer available

Manchester Evening News

April 17, 2006

THE body of a 12-year-old believed an autistic Marple boy who disappeared with his depressed mother has been found in the river Humber.

Humberside Police said that the body matches the description of Ryan Davies, who went missing from his grandmother’s home last week.

They confirmed that the death is being treated as suspicious, and that they are not looking for anybody in connection with his death except his mother, Alison Davies, 40.


Formal identification was not expected until late yesterday afternoon, although Ryan’s family in Manchester have been informed of the find and members of his family travelled to Hull yesterday to identify the body.

Ryan and Alison went missing from her mother’s Marple home at around 6pm on Tuesday last week. Alison, who suffers from severe depression and did not taken her medication with her, left an apparent suicide note in which she explained that she felt that she had failed as a mother and that she would travel with Ryan to the Humber Bridge so that her family “would not have to worry anymore.”

Police in Manchester and Humberside mounted a search operation with British Transport Police for Alison and Ryan, who took medication for his autism and was described as “extremely vulnerable” by detectives.

Post mortem

Despite their efforts there were no confirmed sightings of the pair.

A motor cruise boat captain found the body just before 10am on Sunday at Swinefleet Haven near Goole in East Yorkshire, around 15 miles from the Humber Bridge. He called in local police and coastguards, who brought the body ashore at nearby Black Toft jetty.

The body was taken to a morgue in Hull and was expected to be formally identified yesterday afternoon after a post mortem.

Greater Manchester Police are still leading a manhunt for Alison, while Humberside Police are leading the enquiry into the suspicious death.

The grim discovery came only a day after Alison’s sister, Lindsay Cook, made an emotional appeal for her to get in touch at a police press conference in Manchester on Saturday. She said: “Please come home. We’re sorry if we have not supported you in the way you wanted – but we do love you and Ryan. We will do all we can to make it better in the future.”


A spokesman for GMP said yesterday: “Enquiries are continuing to trace the whereabouts of a 40-year-old mother following the discovery of a boy’s body in the river Humber. There will be a formal identification today, but the body is believed to be that of Ryan. We are increasingly concerned for Alison’s welfare.”

A spokesman for Humberside Police said: “We are appealing for anybody who may have seen them, or Alison herself, to get in touch.” Alison is described as white, 5ft 4ins tall and of slim build. She has shoulder length brown hair and speaks with a southern accent. She may be wearing dark coloured sports clothes.

* Anybody with information should contact Police in Stockport of 0161 856 9740 or Humberside on 01377 208 989.


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Coroner’s Inquest on the deaths of Ryan and Alison Davies — (Blisstree)

by Kristina Chew, PhD

On April 12th, 41-year-old Alison Davies took her 12-year-old son Ryan, who has Fragile X, by train from their home and helped her son onto the railings of the Humber Bridge. As reported in the Daily Mail today, “he put his arms above his head and rolled forward into the river,” after which Ms. Davies followed. The last moments of Alison and Ryan Davies were caught on video by CCTV.

The Daily Mail also noted that Ms. Davies “loved him dearly but as he grew older and stronger, she feared she would be unable to cope, and was determined he should not be taken into care.” Family members had talked about putting Ryan into a residential placement, but, as her brother-in-law Andrew Cook noted “‘That just wasn’t what Alison wanted at all.’”

Coroner Geoffrey Saul has ruled that Ryan was “unlawfully killed.” Ms. Davies had had a history of despression and had attmpted suicide three times before, first when she was 11 years old.

GP Dr Andrew Johnson said her depression had deteriorated when she split from her husband and she found it difficult to look after Ryan, who demanded constant attention from her.

The inquest heard Miss Davies made a 999 call on her mobile half an hour before her suicide. It was dealt with by a Birmingham-based call centre operator. Miss Davies told the operator where she was, that she was with her son and asked them to tell her family so they would not worry.

The operator passed on the information to police but did not give the location. Police followed it up by trying to call the number back, but the call went unanswered.

Dr Johnson said it was possible that Ryan was not pushed, as had been suggested in a police report.

‘I suspect he would not have had an idea of the potential danger he was in,’ he said. ‘It is entirely possible Ryan jumped off the bridge unaware of any danger to his life.’

It is “possible,” but what is the proof that Ryan was “unaware of any danger” to his life.