Family advocates for mental health laws to change after son charged in mother’s death

Local News

A Topeka family is dealing with losing two members after a son was arrested for murdering his mother.

Carol Wood’s daughter, Shela Wood, said her mother was a loving mother who would do anything for her children. 

Just weeks ago, Carol was at the courthouse trying to get help for her son David Wood Jr., who struggled with mental health issues and drug addiction. 

The help she was looking for never came, and now it’s too late. 

Kyong Wood, who went by ‘Carol’, immigrated from Korea to America with her husband David.

They chose to settle in Kansas and raised their four children here. 

“She was just always there for everybody,” Shela Wood said. “She was a loving caring person and once you came into her life, she made an impact on you and you were part of her.” 

When Carol’s son David became addicted to drugs and was diagnosed with drug-induced schizophrenia, she pushed to get him help. 

“She was taking my brother to get help all the time,” Wood said. “All the way up until her death. She never gave up on her child, as every good mother should do.” 

She couldn’t get him the treatment he needed without his consent due to Kansas state laws. 

David held Topeka Police in a five-hour-long standoff June 16 after he killed his mother in her home. 

Upon his removal from the home, he was arrested and charged with her murder. 

“I’m very sad for the loss of my mother,” Shela Wood said. “I’m very sad for the loss of my brother and the tragedy my family has lived through.” 

Bill Persinger, of Valeo Behavioral Health Care in Topeka, said he understands how challenging getting mental health can be for families. 

“Sometimes we do encounter that with the anxiety and depression and just the process of mental illness can be overwhelming and people may be afraid to seek help,” Persinger said. “That’s why the folks here at Valeo and other places in town are trained to interview people and pull out those fears so the person can give consent.” 

While it is too late for Carol and David now, Shela said she hopes that sharing their story can help show the need for change. 

“Very saddened that it’s taken the sacrifice of my whole family to hopefully get something moving to change for everybody else’s family,” Shela said. 

If you would like to donate in memory of Carol, the family is asking that you contribute to the Kansas Crime Victims Compensation Fund. You can find out more about that here

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