Terminally ill man kills himself and autistic son

Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE — A Melvindale man believed to have a fatal illness killed his autistic son and then himself June 12 because he didn’t want to burden his family, police said.

John Richett, 58, and his son Nicholas Richett, 20, were found dead in their house in the 3600 block of Caryn Street shortly after 7 a.m. Police said a note found in the house said that John Richett sufferered from an unconfirmed illness usually deemed fatal and that he did not want to burden his family with the care of his son, should he die.

Nicholas Richett was severely autistic and it is believed that his mentality was that of an 18- to 24-month-old child and required 24-hour-a-day care.

“It’s a very unfortunate incident,” Sgt. Dan Jones said. “It’s overall very tragic. It seems like (John Richett) was a very dedicated person, as he took care of his son for over 20 years. I’m sure that wasn’t easy.”

The two men died of apparent gunshot wounds. John Richett recently purchased the shotguns, which were found at the scene, prior to the incident.

The Police Department, working in collaboration with the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, spent almost eight hours investigating the scene, and Melvindale police are still waiting on the preliminary findings.

(Charity B. Smith can be reached at charitybsmith@yahoo.com.)