Local News


Couple charged with murder in death of their special needs son

Posted at 6:52 PM, May 24, 2017

Two people are being charged in the murder of their disabled adopted son.

Police say Ross and Yolanda Strauss are responsible for the death of 21-year-old Brandon Strauss.

Brandon had autism, Down's Syndrome and suffered from seizures.

He died in February from police say were lethal levels of drugs in his system.

They were drugs he took to treat his conditions, but the amounts were much higher than normal.

Police say neither Yolanda nor Ross could explain why there was so much.

The couple adopted Brandon when he was 3 months old, fully aware of his conditions.

Joshua Tomsheck, Yolanda Strauss' attorney, says his client has a long history of being an excellent mother.

"The idea that she could be charged with what she's charged with certainly flies in the face of what we know about her historically," Tomsheck said.

He told 13 Action News Yolanda Strauss has four other children, and she loves them all.

The Strausses are also being charged with abuse, because police say they neglected to properly treat burns found on Brandon's body.

According to police, Ross Strauss told officers the burns resulted from an accident involving scalding bathwater.

Police say experts determined the burns are inconsistent with Ross Strauss' story.

Officers have ruled out the possibility that Brandon overdosed himself on his medications.

Both parents stated he wasn't physically capable of doing that.