'You Can't Call 911 When You're Dead'

County officials tell a mother they can help her troubled kidbut only after he kills her

Back in Anaheim, Adam attended both special education and regular classes at Magnolia High School, and continued to meet with county social workers. With their help, he was enrolled in a program run by Kathy Morris, a clinical psychologist for the Anaheim Union High School District. A February 2006 letter from Morris to Williams shows Morris' concern that Orange County Mental Health officials weren't taking his mental health situation seriously.

"Since he has been under treatment with Orange County Mental Health, there have been many observations that Adam exhibits behaviors that are consistent with Asperger's Disorder," Morris wrote. "He has not been formally diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder even though his behaviors have been consistently reported and have been ongoing since his earliest school records." Those behaviors included "very limited eye contact, very limited use of gestures in social interaction, little change in body posture or facial expression while interacting or when observed alone."

Dr. Mark Lopez, a lawyer and founding director of SchoolWatch/SENTRY, a group that works to ensure children in public schools get adequate mental health treatment, has worked with Anaheim school officials on Adam's case for more than a decade. He praised Morris and other school officials for their efforts to help Adam, but claimed that Orange County Mental Health and Olive Crest are a "waste of time."

Williams: House arrest. Photo by Jonathan Ho
Williams: House arrest. Photo by Jonathan Ho

"This kid is out there in school and could be a danger on campus," Lopez said. "He needs to be watched and have housing. In a restricted environment, kids like him can flower and lead good lives, but in the open they will have problems. What is it going to take to make this happen—for him to hurt his mom? They told her that her safety net is to call 911. Well, you can't make that call if you're dead."

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