Crime

Mother Sentenced To 40 Years After Confessing To Poisoning Her Toddler Who Had Down Syndrome

| by Lauren Briggs
Erika Wigstrom.Erika Wigstrom.

A Louisiana woman pleaded guilty on Sept. 15 to killing her son, a toddler who had Down syndrome, by injecting hand sanitizer into his feeding tube.

Erika Wigstrom, a 22-year-old from from Belle Chasse, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her son, Lucas Ruiz, reports NOLA. Judge Kevin Conner gave her the maximum sentence of 40 years in prison without the possibility of probation or a suspended sentence.

A grand jury indicted Wigstrom, who was 20 years old at the time, on March 26, 2014, on first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges for the Jan. 24, 2014 death of her 17-month-old son.

Ruiz was born with Down syndrome and atrioventricular canal defect, which caused the boy to develop holes in his heart. The toddler needed corrective surgery as well as a feeding tube, and Wigstrom reportedly told authorities that she hoped to take the boy out of his misery.

“From what I gather from our detectives they basically say that she had no remorse on the death," Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Commander Eric Becnel told WGNO.

“I have no more tears to shed because my kid is so cool God wanted him," Wigstrom said, days after her son died, in a Facebook video. "I mean, if anybody is lucky it’s me for being his mom. I’m not going to cry.”

Wigstrom later admitted to deputies she attempted to poison her son by pouring rum and perfume into his feeding tube in October 2012 while she waited for him to have surgery.

She also confessed to putting the fatal dose of hand sanitizer in the boy's feeding tube a year later, causing his blood alcohol level to reach 0.28 percent at his death.

Wigstrom told detectives she researched how much alcohol she would need to use to kill her son.

Her husband, Cesar Ruiz, spent more than a year in jail after giving officials false information regarding the case.

Sources: NOLA, WGNO (2) / Photo credit: Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office via WGNO