The heartbroken mom of the Oklahoma girl who fatally stabbed her younger brother in a “demonic” rage said the child had recently become “angry for no reason” while taking ADHD medication — but by the time she pulled her daughter off it, it was too late and she experienced a “manic episode.”
April Lyda revealed during an interview on NewsNation on Thursday night what she believes led her daughter to attack her 9-year-old brother, Zander, in the chest on Jan. 5 at their home in Tulsa.
“From what we found it looks like it was a medication issue, not anything else. Like a manic episode of some kind,” a tearful Lyda told host Chris Cuomo.
She said her daughter became irritable when she was placed back on medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
Asked why she had been taken off the meds, Lyda explained that the girl had cut her arms “within a month of being back on it.”
“So I immediately took her off. After speaking to the school, and her doctor and herself – we had a long conversation — she said that she felt like she was really irritated, irritable, angry for no reason on the medication.
“So of course I took her off of it. Unfortunately, it was too late. The damage was done. Stuff like this kind of thing can happen months or even years after being off of the medication like this,” the grieving mom said.
She said her daughter had been home-schooled for some time but when she went back to school her doctor recommended putting her back on the medication because her grades dropped.
“And so I put her back on it. And then a few weeks later, a month later, she cut her arms. So that’s when I was told to take her back off of it, which I did immediately,” Lyda said.
“So she was on it for five years straight and we only took her off of it because she wanted to see if she could go without it and do her schoolwork without it,” she explained.
Lyda said her daughter cut herself right before she attacked her brother.
“They were close, they’ve always been close … they did yoga together almost every night. They went on vacations together and trips together. They always sat next to each other. They were very close. She loved him and he loved her,” she told Cuomo.
The mom said her daughter “has no idea” why she killed Zander.
“She’s heartbroken and she’s feels very guilty but she still doesn’t understand why she did it. She said it was like it wasn’t her and the team of specialists working with her, they believe her after working with her for the last six months every day,” Lyda said.
“And I believe her, too, because I know my child and I know that wasn’t her,” she said.
Darcy Sterling, a licensed clinical social worker, told Cuomo there are “pieces of this puzzle that are missing” and was skeptical that the unspecified medication was the only factor involved in the tragedy.
“I have never heard of a situation where a child just inadvertently does something like this (with) zero warning signs,” Sterling said. “The meds are not going to make somebody homicidal like that.”
Because of the girl’s age, the Tulsa District Attorney’s Office could not disclose any information about the case, including what charges she faces.
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