Cops: La. Mom Killed Toddler With Down Syndrome
She told them it was a 'mercy killing'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2014 2:03 AM CDT
This photo provided by the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office shows Erika Wigstrom.   (AP Photo/Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – Cops in Belle Chasse, Louisiana say a mother showed no sign of remorse when confessing to killing her 17-month-old son by injecting him with hand sanitizer. Erika Wigstrom, 20, faces a charge of first-degree murder and a potential death sentence for killing her son Lucas, who was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Police say she described the death of the boy, who died from acute alcohol poisoning, as a mercy killing.

The boy's father, 20-year-old Cesar Ruiz, is in custody on child cruelty charges for allegedly pouring rum into the boy's feeding tube when he was just 2 months old, though police say Wigstrom has confessed that she was the culprit, and it was perfume oil, not rum. The case has shocked the community near New Orleans as well as investigators. "It's a tragic situation. I don't know what goes through someone's head, to harm a 17-month-old. I have a 19-month-old myself, and I couldn't put it in my system to do something like that," a sheriff's office spokesman tells WVUE.

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Mar 14, 2014 10:12 AM CDT
Mar 13, 2014 4:27 PM CDT
If as a society we want people to keep children like this and raise them, then we need to provide services for them. Most middle class, fully grounded, well adjusted couples who have a downs or autistic child with extreme medical problems, and behaviors (self abuse, smearing feces, hitting the other children, biting, crying, etc.) and up emotionally and mentally unstable, bankrupt and divorced. Even if this woman started out wealthy, with a good family and church support network, a supportive husband, and good advocates, it was probably going to go badly. Without all that, it was going to spiral our of control anyway and everyone involved was going to have a very very bad life.
Mar 13, 2014 3:56 PM CDT
It is a mercy killing. There is no reason on Earth to give birth to a Down's victims. To say that they are God's little Angels is ridiculous. Raising them assures decades of misery and anguish for the parents, their other children too. The costs in money, time, emotion and grief justifies never having them in the first place. To think God saddles a mother with such an intractable burden is ludicrous and simply idiotic, I know parents of Mongoloids and their lives are wrecked not "blessed". These pregnancies should end in the womb not 35 years later after constant care and frustration. Sorry "Protect Life" do-gooders. This is reality.