Reports: Cache woman said she was 'baby killer'

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:17 PM

Brady McCombs, The Associated Press

LOGAN — A northern Utah woman recently charged with murder in the death of her 2-year-old son first began raising suspicions after checking herself into a Logan hospital on Sept. 4, court documents show.

As she was being treated, Heidi Rutchey, 42, made a series of troubling statements to hospital staff. “Something terrible happened,” she said, and later, I am a “baby killer” and “he suffocated in the tub,” according to a probable cause statement from the Cache County attorney’s office.

Police went to her apartment outside of Logan in River Heights and found her young son, Eli Rutchey, dead. They believe he died several days earlier.

Seven weeks later, after Heidi Rutchey was medically able to speak with investigators, she acknowledged killing her son, authorities said. She told investigators she put her hand over his son’s mouth and nose until he was dead. Then she tried to kill herself by overdosing on pills.

She was arrested the day of the police interview, Oct. 24, and booked on murder charges. She remains jailed on $100,000 bail after briefly appearing in court Monday for a scheduling hearing.

The murder charge is the latest — and most serious — run-in with the law for Rutchey, who has obstruction of justice, theft and fraud convictions dating to 2000, Utah court records show. She’s never spent time in Utah prison but was on probation from 2001 to 2004, Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said.

In her request for a court-appointed attorney, Rutchey said she’s unemployed, with her only income being $700 a month from Social Security.

Rutchey told a judge last week that she has bipolar disorder, and her court-appointed attorney, David Perry, said he plans to request a competency hearing to determine the mental status of his client.

In 2002, she was committed to a state hospital in Idaho for five months, court records show. When she was given a year of probation on obstruction of justice charges in March 2011, she was also ordered to continue seeing a psychologist in Logan.

Perry said he’s only spoken once with Rutchey and doesn’t know much yet about the woman. He doesn’t know, for instance, if she has other children or who the boy’s father is.

The Cache County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the case, referring comment to the county attorney’s office. Cache County Attorney James Swink didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

The medical examiner determined the most likely cause of death of the boy was suffocation.

Rutchey’s bail hearing is Nov. 4 in Logan.

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