Deputies: Mother confesses to poisoning baby three times before his death

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 11:02 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

BELLE CHASSE, La. -- A Belle Chasse mother now faces a murder charge in the poisoning death of her infant son. Erika Wigstrom appeared in magistrate court on Wednesday. The 20-year-old allegedly confessed to tampering with her baby's feeding tube three times.

"The first time I had seen the ultrasound, I had felt the kicks, but the first time I held him it was like it wasn't anything better than that," said Wigstrom during an exclusive interview last spring with Eyewitness News Medical Reporter Meg Farris.

Now detectives are looking into the baby's death.

"From what I gathered from our detectives she basically had no remorse on the death. It's a tragic situation," said Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office Commander Eric Becnel.

The sheriff's office says Lucas died on Jan. 24. According to a coroner's report, his blood alcohol level was at .280 -- four times the legal limit.

The sheriff's office also confirms Wigstrom confessed to poisoning her son's feeding tube three times. Authorities say she confessed to using rum, perfume and most recently hand sanitizer.

"It's been reported that she and her boyfriend, the father of the child, wanted to end the child's misery and the pain and suffering the child was going through," added Becnel.

In October 2012 the baby's father, Cesar Ruiz, told Jefferson Parish Sheriff's detectives he had put rum in his son's feeding tube to relieve his suffering inside Oschner Hospital's pediatric unit. The baby was waiting for heart surgery.

But now authorities say Wigstrom is claiming full responsibility.

When her son passed away in January, Wigstrom sent an email to Meg Farris:

"It's Erika Wigstrom, the mother of Lucas Ruiz. I just wanted to let you know that he passed away on January 24th at 17 months old."

Farris writes back: "What happened? Was it his birth defect or the alcohol or both??"

Wigstrom responds: "The autopsy hasn't decided, but it was probably both."

While the Plaquemines and Jefferson Parish sheriff's offices investigate Lucas' death and alleged poisonings, one question remains unanswered: Why didn't friends, family or even Child Protective Services step in?

Wigstrom faces one count of first-degree murder and no bond was set for her on Wednesday.

Second-degree juvenile cruelty charges against Cesar Ruiz are pending in Jefferson Parish, where he remains behind bars.

 

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