Mom Charged With Trying To Poison Son
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 12, 2002
STANTON, CALIFORNIA--Heidi Shelton was charged Wednesday with trying to kill her 5-year-old son, who has autism, and then herself.
Superior Court Judge Michael McCartin set Shelton's bail at $1 million. If convicted, she could face a maximum term of nine years in prison, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Shelton's mother, who lives with the family, called emergency personnel Sunday night when she found her son and grandson unconscious at the home. Both were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Upon their release, Shelton was booked into the Women's Jail, and her son was placed in protective custody.
Orange County sheriff's officials claim Shelton tried to poison her son and then herself with the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
"Her intent was to kill him and herself," said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. "We know, just by statements she made, that that was her intent."
Neighbors told the newspaper that Shelton loved her son.
"She worshipped that boy," Darci Rynsburger said.
"Zachary is her whole life," Reggie Bernard, another neighbor, told the newspaper.
The incident seems similar to others in which a parent has murdered or attempted to murder a child that has a disability.