A unique perspective on a horrific stabbing attack
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) —
Déjà vu is a french term that means "already seen," and when news broke that a Tulsa woman had allegedly stabbed her own child, Cathy Costello, who has personal experience with tragedy from mental illness, felt for the family.
"It hit me pretty hard as I was driving down the road, because I have a son that has schizophrenia, and he took his father's life with a knife in front of me," said Cathy Costello.
It happened almost three years ago at a Braum's in Oklahoma City and immediately raised the profile of mental illness. Costello lost her husband after her son, suffering from schizophrenia, stabbed him to death.
"My husband and I didn't tell anybody for two years after our son's diagnosis, not even my own parents; we were afraid of what our family would think, and he was a statesman and a state elected official. We weren't sure how we would be perceived, that's a big mistake. I was part of the stigma," she said.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, her son Christian did not give off any foreshadowing warnings.
"He was never violent. He was always gentle and loving and kind, but his behavior was different; he would talk to himself a lot," she said.
It was just last month that the case was finally resolved.
"Just a few weeks ago he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is in the Forensic Center in Vinita, Oklahoma," she said.
Costello is now on the campaign trail to fill the office her husband once held.
"I'm running for my husband's office as labor commissioner. It's very important to me that we understand the impact of mental health on the workforce," she said.
As for Taheerah Ahmad, the allegations against her are just that: innocent until proven guilty. With no diagnosis of anything, save for the opinion of a woman with a case of déjà vu.
"I don't know the details, but I would have to guess that, things like this happen when we don't address mental illness or perhaps because of an issue of stigma it hasn't been addressed in that family's life," she said.