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Woman pleads guilty to throwing autistic son off Oregon bridge

PORTLAND, Ore -- A woman who threw her autistic 6-year-old son off a bridge on the Oregon coast has pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

Police said Jillian McCabe of Newport called 911 in 2014 to report she had thrown her son from the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Emergency crews searched for hours before the body of London McCabe was found.

Court records from Lincoln County show a plea hearing was held Monday. District Attorney Michelle Branam told The Oregonian that McCabe pleaded guilty to murder and prosecutors agreed to drop charges of aggravated murder and manslaughter.

Relatives said McCabe suffered emotional distress while trying to care for London, who had autism, and for her disabled husband.

The McCabe family's health problems were discussed on multiple blogs and fundraising websites, according to CBS affiliate KOIN.

"The financial strain on [Matt's] family was past nearly anyone's breaking point," read one 2013 blog post requesting donations.

Jillian McCabe, sitting with her husband, Matt, opening up about her struggle to cope with her family's medical ordeals. The video was pulled from YouTube hours after she was arrested for the death of her son Nov. 4, 2014. YouTube via CBS affiliate KOIN

In Oct. 2013, Matt McCabe was tested for Multiple sclerosis after experiencing migraine headaches, slurred speech and facial numbness, an Oct. 20 blog post read. He was officially diagnosed later that month.

Relatives and friends said McCabe struggled with mental illness and had trouble caring for her son and her husband.

A judge had previously delayed McCabe's arraignment pending a mental health evaluation. But prosecutors said that before McCabe was accused of throwing her 6-year-old autistic son off the historic bridge, she had done Internet research on the terms "guilty but insane" and "not guilty by reason of insanity."

London McCabe shown during his sixth birthday party. London's mother, Jillian McCabe, is accused of throwing him over a Newport, Ore. bridge Nov. 3, 2014. CBS affiliate KOIN via YouTube

Police said after she threw her son, she told the 911 dispatcher: "I just threw my son over the Yaquina Bay Bridge," according to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in Lincoln County Circuit Court and reported by CBS affiliate KOIN.

She described her son, London, and the clothes he was wearing, saying he was in the water and gone. Later that night, a body was reported in the water at a bayside resort, and police said it was the boy.

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