Struggling mother killed her 'always smiling' 10-year-old son then took her own life before their decomposing bodies were found seven weeks later, inquest hears
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  • Adalia Baptisa and her son Frederico Baptisa-Mendes were found in their flat
  • Evidence found Ms Baptisa had accessed websites about euthanasia
  • *If you need to speak to someone, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org* 

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A struggling mother unlawfully killed her 10-year-old son who was a ‘very cheerful child’ who was ‘always smiling’ before taking her own life, an inquest has heard. 

The bodies of Adalia Baptisa, 30, and her son Frederico Baptisa-Mendes were found in a decomposed state more than seven weeks after their deaths.

They were discovered in their council flat in the Holbeck area of Leeds in September last year, Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard on Friday.

Analysis of their mobile phones showed they were last used in late July and coroner Oliver Longstaff read statements which suggested this was probably the time at which they died.

The alarm was raised by teachers after Frederico did not return to school following the summer holidays and police went to investigate on September 15 last year.

The court heard how Ms Baptisa was struggling to cope with her son’s autism.

Frederico was diagnosed with autism in 2019 and joined Richmond Hill Primary, which specialises in helping children with complex communication difficulties.

Detective Inspector Suzanne Hall said in a statement read to the court: ‘Adalia struggled to come to terms with that diagnosis.’

The bodies of Adalia Baptisa, 30, and her son Frederico Baptisa-Mendes (both pictured) were found in a decomposed state more than seven weeks after their deaths

The bodies of Adalia Baptisa, 30, and her son Frederico Baptisa-Mendes (both pictured) were found in a decomposed state more than seven weeks after their deaths

The bodies of Adalia Baptisa, 30, and her son Frederico Baptisa-Mendes (both pictured) were found in a decomposed state more than seven weeks after their deaths

The court heard how there was evidence from Ms Baptisa’s computer that she had accessed numerous websites about euthanasia and related topics.

Her father, who lives in Portugal, said in a statement that his daughter ‘appeared to be stressed’ and had been looking at ‘dangerous’ websites.

Ms Hall said in her statement: ‘I’m satisfied there was no third party involvement in the deaths.’

She said it appeared Ms Baptisa’s actions ‘had been planned for a while’ and that ‘Frederico was killed by his mother’.

Mr Longstaff read a statement from Muneer Hussain, a taxi driver who took Frederico to Richmond Hill Primary School every day, and who had become concerned about getting no reply from the flat in early September.

He informed the school and continued to visit to try to pick Frederico up for school, but did not see him.

Mr Hussain said he knew the youngster as Freddie and said: ‘He was a very cheerful child and was always ready to go.’

He said he ‘was always smiling’ and loved ‘wearing hats’ and Super Mario. He also said Frederico loved his mother.

Police cordon at the council flat in Holbeck, Leeds

Police cordon at the council flat in Holbeck, Leeds

Police cordon at the council flat in Holbeck, Leeds

The school raised the alarm with police after he failed to return to school after the summer break despite a 100 per cent attendance record the previous year. 

No one answered and so the officers forced entry with the help of a locksmith. There, they found both Ms Baptisa and Frederico dead.

The coroner heard how Ms Baptisa and Frederico were Portuguese, although she was born in Angola, and they came to the UK about 10 years before their deaths. 

Neighbours described Ms Baptisa as ‘quiet’ and had not seen her for several weeks before her body was discovered by the police.

Rachel Law, who is the head of the Rainbow Base at Richmond Hill Academy, said Frederico was a ‘happy’ boy and the school was shocked to hear of his death.

Information taken from Ms Baptisa’s computer showed she had been researching methods to take her son’s life for several months.

Ms Baptisa’s cousin, Cíntia Costa, said: ‘My cousin suffered from depression and [Frederico’s] autism which sadly became too much for her to cope with.’

The coroner recorded conclusions that Frederico was unlawfully killed and Ms Baptisa died as a result of suicide.

  • *If you need to speak to someone, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org* 

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