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liesnalibis View Drop Down
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    Posted: Mar 26 2014 at 11:29pm
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Belle Chasse mom accused of killing her toddler with hand sanitizer indicted with murder, attempted murder

Plaquemines Parish grand juryWednesday (March 26) indicted a Belle Chassewoman on charges of killing her sickly toddler by injecting hand sanitizer into his feeding tube. 

The grand jury also charged Erika Wigstrom with attempting to kill the child more than 14 months ago, on the same day authorities say the child's father gave him rum.

Just two weeks after she was jailed, Wigstrom, 20, was formally charged with first-degree murder, in the Jan. 24 death of 17-month-oldLucas Ruiz. She also was charged with attempted first-degree murder, accused of giving Lucas an alcohol-based perfume on Oct. 26, 2012.

Although charged with a capital offense, Wigstrom will not face a potential death sentence. "The state will not seek the death penalty," Plaquemines Parish District Attorney Charles Ballay said just moments after filing the indictment in a Belle Chasse courtroom at midday Wednesday.

If convicted as charged, or even if a jury finds her guilty of second-degree murder, Wigstrom would face a mandatory life sentence in prison with no chance of probation, parole or suspended sentence. The attempted murder charge carries a sentence of up to 50 years in prison. Her arraignment on the new charges is May 5.

Wigstrom was not in court when the indictment was handed up. However, on Monday she appeared before Judge Kevin Conner of the 25th Judicial District Court, who set a $750,000 bond. Following her arrest, she was denied a bond. She remained jailed as of Wednesday, Cmdr. Eric Becnel of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Officesaid. 

Monday's bond hearing was sought by Wigstrom's attorneys with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center in New Orleans, court records show. Richard Bourke, who heads that law office, which defends people facing the death penalty, could not be reached immediately for comment. Because the death penalty is off the table, the office likely will not represent Wigstrom.

In a court filing, the defense attorneys said Wigstrom was indigent and entitled to a bond. "Because Ms. Wigstrom does not present an imminent danger to the community and she is not a flight risk, the court must set bail," the attorneys wrote. "And this bail must be set at an amount that Ms. Wigstrom can reasonably post."

A preliminary examination, which is a hearing before a judge at which detectives testify about the evidence, had been set for Thursday. Asked about the relatively quick turn-around between Wigstrom's arrest and the indictment, a span of two weeks, Ballay said his office "was ready" to go to the grand jury.

Ballay also cited the preliminary examination that was set for Thursday. "This will negate that, since now we have an indictment," he said.

Lucas Ruiz was born with Down syndrome and atrioventricular canal defect, a condition that left him with holes in his heart, requiring corrective surgery and a feeding tube. In explaining why she poisoned her child by injecting the hand sanitizer into the tube, Wigstrom described it as an act of mercy, to put her child out of his  misery, detectives have said.

She said that on Jan. 23 at her Xi Street home in Belle Chasse, she injected Germ-X hand sanitizer into her son's feeding tube, detectives said. The substance contains ethyl alcohol. Lucas died the following day from alcohol poisoning.

Toxicology tests done during the autopsy revealed that his blood-alcohol content was 0.280 percent. Detectives received the report earlier this month and called Wigstrom in for questioning on March 11. That led to the confession, detectives have said.

The indictment adds a criminal wrinkle to the case. Lucas' father, Cesar Ruiz, 20, is charged in Jefferson Parish's 24th Judicial District with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. Prosecutors accuse him of giving Lucas rum through his feeding tube during a hospital stay on Oct. 26, 2012, when the child was 2 months old.

In October 2012, Lucas was awaiting heart surgery at Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson. But after he had seizures, doctors performed tests that revealed his blood-alcohol content was 0.289 percent, almost four times higher than the legal limit for adults to drive in Louisiana.

During the investigation that followed, Cesar Ruiz gave Jefferson Parish detectives a statement in which they say he implicated himself in the alcohol poisoning. Deputies booked him with attempted first-degree murder, but prosecutors charged him with the cruelty charge.

At the time, Wigstrom told Jefferson Parish detectives that Ruiz had said he hoped that their son would die during the surgery, according to an arrest report. Then, on Facebook last year, Wigstrom said she wasn't aware at the time that Ruiz had poisoned their son.

Yet earlier this month, Wigstrom confessed she poisoned her child on Oct. 26, 2012, leading to her indictment Wednesday on the attempted murder charge. She also appeared to seek to absolve Ruiz of wrongdoing.

Prosecutors in Jefferson Parish, however, have given no indication that they will abandon the case against Ruiz, apparently in light of his statement to detectives and the possibility that both parents harmed the child.

After 14 months of incarceration while awaiting his trial, Ruiz was released from the Jefferson Parish jail on March 20, a day after Jefferson Parish Judge June Berry Darensburg reduced his bond from $100,000 to $10,000, records show.

Wigstrom's confession played a role in Darensburg's decision to reduce Ruiz's bail substantially. She ordered that Ruiz be under house arrest, allowing him to leave home only for school, religious services and work.

His attorney Michael Ciaccio, said in court last week that Ruiz needed to earn money to help pay his legal costs, including to hire an expert in pediatrics that could help the defense.
 

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Sang Froid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Sang Froid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 26 2014 at 11:56pm
Hmmmm....
Yall prolly won't like this....
But I understand why she would do that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bored w/Out Me? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 12:11am
Can't judge her on this cause I wouldn't my child to suffer either...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (13) Thanks(13)   Quote rell85 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 12:40am
Didn't get the baby they wanted so killed him just cold.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote creole booty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 1:16am
She euthanized her child with the argument of "he was suffering." Let's see, he may have had a valuable future. We can't say he was better off dead because, well, he was alive. Couldn't have been me. I know that much. I'm fighting until the end.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ms_wonderland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 1:21am
Originally posted by rell85 rell85 wrote:

Didn't get the baby they wanted so killed him just cold.

cowardly as hell.
that's why we're given the legal choice to prevent pregnancy or abort.  don't punk out after you made the choice to give birth knowing full well that possibilities like sick children exist.  which is why if you're not prepared to take on the x,y, or z that may happen once you give birth, you should NOT be a parent.  This baby did not have to die because his condition was treatable!

so did she exhaust all options before she did this?  i doubt it.

taken from the Boston Children's Hospital:

If your infant or child has been diagnosed with atrioventricular canal defect (AV canal), an understanding of the condition will help you to cope with this unusual but treatable congenital (present at birth) heart defect.

A complete atrioventricular canal defect is actually a combination of several closely associated heart problems that result in a large defect in the center of the heart:

  • Defects include holes such as atrial septal defect (ASD) andventricular septal defect (VSD), and abnormalities of the atrioventricular valves (usually mitral and tricuspid).
  • Blood can move freely among the four heart chambers, mixing oxygen-rich (red) blood with oxygen-poor (blue) blood.
  • AV canal occurs in two out of 10,000 births.
  • The condition is common in children with Down syndrome (about 20%).
  • Surgery in the first six months of life is often necessary to correct the defects.
  • After surgery, most children lead healthy lives but will need lifelong follow-up care.
  • A small proportion (~10%) will need additional surgery later in life

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches AV canal

The experienced surgeons in Boston Children’s Cardiac Surgery Department understand how distressing a diagnosis of an atrioventricular canal defect can be for parents. You can have peace of mind knowing that our surgeons treat some of the most complex pediatric heart conditions in the world, with overall success rates approaching 98 percent—among the highest in the nation among large pediatric cardiac centers.

In particular, the methods used to repair AV canal have improved greatly in the past two decades, and the operation has a high likelihood of success.

At Boston Children’s, we provide families with a wealth of information, resources, programs and support—before, during and after your child’s treatment. With our compassionate, family-centered approach to expert treatment and care, you and your child are in the best possible hands.



Edited by ms_wonderland - Mar 27 2014 at 1:22am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sang Froid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 1:27am
In my perfect world this would be done legally.

And I wonder how often disabled children were killed back in the day.
I can picture babies and children being smothered and buried in the backyard and no one would ever know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ms_wonderland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 1:40am
but should it be done legally at 3 months old(when she first tried to kill him) when the child suffers from a treatable illness?  i'm not counting downs syndrome because tons of ppl with downs live autonomous lives. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote liesnalibis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 1:45am
They didn't want to be bothered plain and simple. Who is she to say the child was "suffering"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (8) Thanks(8)   Quote femmemichelle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2014 at 1:56am
That people think killing children is OK because they have a defect is sickening. 
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