Deaths of mom, autistic child believed to be murder-suicide

Deaths of mom, autistic child believed to be murder-suicide

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The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department said late Sunday night that the deaths of an 8-year-old child and his mother appear to be a murder-suicide.

Authorities identified the deceased as 42-year-old Delicia Barrow and her son, Randle Barrow.


Deputies found Randle’s body in the Tennessee River in the Honeycomb area of Marshall County, early Sunday morning. Huntsville police started searching for the autistic child after a fire at his home.


Police responded to 4900 Alburta Road in Huntsville to check on the welfare of the child after he didn’t show up to school for two days. Upon arrival, officers noticed smoke coming from the roof of the house. Firefighters were able to put the fire out. Police found Delicia Barrow, inside the residence. She was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.

Police said they couldn’t find Randle inside the house and began a search for the missing child on Saturday.

In a statement Sunday night, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department said they received a tip earlier in the day from Huntsville Police that a note had been found inside the home with information on the whereabouts of Randle.

The news of both deaths came as a complete shock to those who knew them. Elizabeth Quarles, Randle’s former teacher, said they “Never, never saw it coming. When we heard that he was missing, our initial reaction was to meet and let’s go find him. Until we got more details, we thought he had ran.”

Randle’s behavioral therapist, Madison Brooks, also described the child in glowing terms.

“Randle made every kid in his classroom smile constantly. He was hilarious; the happiest kid. He would do anything for anybody. If he saw a child upset, he cried for that child. He understood,” said Brooks.

Brooks and Quarles said Randle was making strides in the world. He was high-functioning, able to communicate and to do things for himself. As for his mother, they didn’t know much about her, but said the two were very close.

They said they want the boy to be remembered for more than his condition. They want his memory to be one of fun, laughter and jokes, because that, they said, was Randle.

Officials said they are still awaiting the results of autopsies on Randle and Delicia Barrow and that their preliminary investigation points to a murder-suicide. Investigators believe Delicia drove Randle to Marshall County, drowned her son in the river, and then came back home to take her own life.

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