Dozens of people gathered for a candlelight vigil to celebrate the life of an autistic teen who was murdered in his home last week.
Some of the mourners knew Alex Spourdalakis, and some had never met him. They gathered this evening to wrap their arms around his father and relatives and focused on remembering his contagious smile.
Many at the vigil shared something in common. They are relatives of children with autism, and they were all touched by 14-year-old Alex. They used social media to organize the vigil this evening outside of his family’s church.
“It’s a horrible shame that this family didn’t apparently get the support they needed, didn’t feel like they had the support that they needed, and we don’t ever want this to happen again,” said vigil organizer Karen Seraphine
Spourdalakis was fatally stabbed in his bed at his River Grove home last Sunday.
The teen, who was described as severely autistic, was first given an overdose of sleeping pills. Then he was stabbed to death in his bed.
His mother and caregiver were each charged with murder after a failed suicide attempt. The motive was spelled out in a note left at the scene.
Authorities said the two believed Alex’s health was deteriorating, and his medical treatment was subpar.
A judge denied bond for Alex’s mother and his caregiver, who was also his godmother. A memorial service was held for him yesterday.
Organizers of tonight’s vigil say they hope that Alex’s story will mobilize and motivate people to take action and support children who are living with autism and the families caring for them.