Cassandra Killpack (Autumn Blackwell)


Four-year-old Cassandra adopted by Jennette and Richard Killpack died after they forced her to drink a gallon of water, which caused her brain to swell.

The Killpacks maintained it was a form of therapy to help Cassandra with her emotional problems that she had from being abused before they adopted her.

Date: 2002-06-01
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal physical abuse
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother
Fundamentalist faith: yes

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Keith A. Reber, Jennie Gwilliam, Larry VanBloem


Springville, Utah
United States
See map: Google Maps
DocumentDatesort icon
Woman convicted in her daughter's death by 'water intoxication' released from prison2012-01-10
Woman convicted of water intoxication granted parole2011-02-03
Mother who killed girl by water intoxication seeks parole2011-01-19
Water-intoxication homicide upheld2008-07-23
Court upholds sentence for child's death2008-07-22
The Exorcists: The fine line between saving children and torturing them.2007-03-07
Mom gets up to 152006-01-06
Lenient term is sought for mom2005-10-20
Killpack jurors loathed verdict2005-10-17
Split verdict surprises and stuns the Killpacks2005-10-13
Editorial: Killpack ruling: sad, but deserved2005-10-13
Killpack Says 'Things Aren't Better' Since Daughter's Death2005-10-06
Defense begins in Killpack case2005-10-03
Court hears taped Killpack interview2005-09-27
Killpack admits she bit her child2005-09-25
Neighbors say mom tough on 4-year-old2005-09-24
Sister tells of angry events prior to the death of girl, 4 2005-09-22
Justice for victims? Babies and tiny children dead; those entrusted with their care are accused2005-01-30
Couple Tried in Daughter's Water Therapy Death2004-10-04
State revokes therapist’s license2003-08-15
Utah parents accused of killing 4-year-old daughter with water2003-05-07
Child discipline gone awry2002-12-30
Pair charged with starving their children 2002-10-02
When Love Isn't Enough 2002-09-29
Man Seeks Ban on Therapy He Used on Daughter2002-09-29
2 Cascade therapists say truth being twisted2002-09-20
Dad: Girl Killed By Drinking Water Was Sneaky2002-09-18
Cassandra Killpack

I am the birth mother of

I am the birth mother of Autumn Skky Blackwell. She was born on 11/29/1997 while my birthday was the following month (12/28/1977). She was a sweet baby, hardly ever cried; only when she left my side. She was a normal child. I was having financial difficulties and couldn't support her at the time I placed her for adoption. I was 20 years of age fresh out of foster care myself at age 19. After praying for guidance and help. I decided to place Autumn. I opened my phone book and called the first agency I saw. I had no idea that it was that far away. With a name like "A Act of Love" I figured it was befitting and my daughter would receive the best care. She was adopted April 1998. With a promise of open adoption. They told me I could choose and meet the parents. That didn't happen. Jennette wrote and sent pictures twice in 2yrs. I wrote and sent gifts and pictures through the agency. I constantly called the agency to check on Autumn and to give them updates on new addresses as well as phone numbers for me up until June 17,2009 when finally I was informed Autumn had died. I found further information via your website. I didn't even know they changed her name. If it wasn't for her picture. I would have still been in the dark. My now 8yr. old daughter was 9months old when her sister was killed. I sent the Killpack's a letter telling them and Autumn of her new baby sister. I got no response back. If she was suffering from attachment disorder it was mainly because of her love for me. We were very close and she hated being without me and I loved my daughter completely. That I would sacrifice her being with another family if it meant she could have the best life possible. This pain hurts tremendously but I'm just glad she doesn't have to suffer any more,but I will. Thank you for this website I needed to know and I'm grateful for THAT.  I will always love my first born.    A Mother's Love

Autumn Blackwell / Cassandra Killpack

To Autumn's birth mother: I am a journalist who covered one day of the Killpack trial and never stopped thinking about it. Five years later and thousands of miles away, I was thinking about Cassandra/Autumn and impulsively Googled her name to check for recent updates about the Killpacks, and what I found was this site and your comment. I want to write your story, for you and for your daughter, who never got the chance to tell it for herself. So much reform and regulation and accountability is needed in the adoption process. If you see this post, please reply via email to


Whatever happened to her birth father? And how did you end up in foster care?


Pound Pup Legacy