Mother Charged With Poisoning and Killing Her Baby, Who Had Down Syndrome

State   |   Dave Andrusko   |   Mar 14, 2014   |   11:28AM   |   Baton Rouge, LA

A Louisiana woman was booked Wednesday on charges she killed her 17-month-old toddler by injecting her baby, Lucas Ruiz, with a hand santizer. The official cause of death was “acute ethanol intoxication,” the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office told the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper.

Lucas, who died January 24, was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect, according to reporter Paul Purpura. On Tuesday the mother, Erika Wigstrom, confessed to using Germ-X, whose active ingredient is ethyl alcohol, but described the baby’s death as a “mercy killing.”

lucasruizAt the time of Lucas’s death, there was already a pending charge against the father, Cesar Ruiz which was further complicated by comments Wigstrom made Tuesday.

Hospitalized for breathing difficulties, Lucas had been scheduled to have heart surgery in 2012. When he began having seizures at the hospital, doctors discovered the child’s blood-alcohol content was 0.289%. Purpura writes that the father

“is charged in Jefferson Parish with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, for giving Lucas rum in October 2012, when he was 2 months old. Ruiz confessed he only wanted to ease his son’s pain, but Wigstrom told Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives that Ruiz had hoped his sickly son would die.”

But Wigstrom now claims, Purpura reports, that “she gave her son perfume in 2012, and that Ruiz did nothing. Ruiz’s case is pending.”

However, according to Ruiz’s arrest report, “Wigstrom told Jefferson detectives that Ruiz had said their son ‘would be better off dead, and that he wished he (the child) would die during his upcoming heart surgery,’” Purpura reported

Cmdr. Eric Becnel, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said, “From what I gathered from the detectives, they basically said she had no remorse.”

Wigstrom is being held without bond. When Judge Michael Clement began to read the first-degree murder statute, she reported broke down in tears.

Lucas was pronounced dead on arrival at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. “The Jefferson Parish coroner’s office, which conducted the autopsy, found that Lucas’ blood-alcohol content was 0.280, about four times the legal limit for an adult to drive in Louisiana,” Purpura wrote. “Plaquemines detectives received the autopsy report last week, Becnel said.”



In an update posted on Times-Picayune webpage today, Drew Broach writes

“Days after 17-month-old Lucas Ruiz died of alcohol poisoning, allegedly because his mother added hand sanitizer to the disabled toddler’s feeding tube to relieve his suffering, she told mourners at his burial: “I have no more tears to shed because my kid is so cool God wanted him. I mean, if anybody is lucky it’s me for being his mom. I’m not going to cry.”

“That’s what WGNO television reports, citing a Facebook video clip showing Erika Wigstrom of Belle Chasse speaking beside a tiny coffin. The Facebook page has since been removed.” Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared at National Right to Life News Today.