Mother Murders Down Syndrome Son With Hand Sanitizer
Twenty-year-old Erika Wigstrom of Belle Chasse, Louisiana, appeared to cherish being a mother; before her son was born she uploaded numerous photos of her baby bump and created posts professing her love for her unborn child.
It must have come as a shock, then, when little Lucas was born with Downs Syndrome and a heart defect - the latter condition required the baby to be fitted with a feeding tube. Friends close to Erika said she was ‘disappointed’ at giving birth to a disabled baby, but she appeared to be dedicated to giving Lucas a fufilling life.
In October 2013, when Lucas was fifteen months old, he was rushed to hospital in an ambulance after a spell of frenzied vomiting. Erika told ER staff that she had accidentally spilled a bottle of perfume on Lucas, and the liquid may have gotten into his feeding tube. In an incredible lapse of judgement, the ER staff accepted this story and sent Lucas home with Erika, fitted with a new tube. The baby thrived after the 'accident’; but even so, people close to Erika began to suspect she was trying to rid herself of him. Erika often complained to her mother that Lucas 'stressed her out’ and that his medical care was too expensive. Her mother offered to adopt Lucas to ease the strain on Erika, but she had other plans in mind.
On January 24, 2014, just two months after the perfume incident, Lucas was pronounced dead in hospital after Erika rang an ambulance. The cause of death was determined to be alcohol poisoning; when confronted by the police, Erika calmly confessed to poring a bottle of hand sanitizer into Lucas’ feeding tube while he slept. She claimed she did it as an act of mercy, for she believed Lucas would not have had a quality life with his numerous conditions.
When Erika Wigstrom went to trial her own mother testified against her, telling the court about Erika’s neglectful behavior and the fact she felt burdened by Lucas, calling him a “retard”. The judge called her a “callous human being” and sentenced her to forty years in prison without parole.