Logan woman confesses to killing disabled 2-year-old son

Oct 29 2013 - 8:39am

Images

Heidi Rutchey appears on a video screen for an arraignment as Judge Thomas Willmore listens, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in Logan, Utah. Rutchey is being charged with first degree murder in the death of her two-year-old son. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, Eli Lucero)
Prosecuting attorney Tony Baird listens as Heidi Rutchey appears on a video screen for an arraignment, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in Logan, Utah. Rutchey is being charged with first degree murder in the death of her two-year-old son. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, Eli Lucero, Pool)
Heidi Rutchey, (Police photo)
Heidi Rutchey appears on a video screen for an arraignment as Judge Thomas Willmore listens, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in Logan, Utah. Rutchey is being charged with first degree murder in the death of her two-year-old son. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, Eli Lucero)
Prosecuting attorney Tony Baird listens as Heidi Rutchey appears on a video screen for an arraignment, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in Logan, Utah. Rutchey is being charged with first degree murder in the death of her two-year-old son. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, Eli Lucero, Pool)
Heidi Rutchey, (Police photo)

LOGAN -- A northern Utah woman charged with murder in the death of her disabled 2-year-old son called herself a "baby killer" in a Logan hospital after she took too many pills, court documents show.

As she was treated on Sept. 4, Heidi Rutchey, 42, made a series of troubling statements to hospital staff. "Something terrible happened," she said, and later that she is 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 in the River Heights area and found her young son, Eli Rutchey, dead. Investigators believe he died several days earlier.

Seven weeks later, after Heidi Rutchey was medically able to speak with investigators, she acknowledged killing her son by putting her hand over his mouth and nose until he was dead, authorities said, then trying to kill herself by overdosing on pills.

She was arrested the day of the police interview, Oct. 24, and booked on a murder charge. Cache County Attorney James Swink said her confession was the final piece of the investigation.

Swink said the young boy had a disability. He declined to be more specific.

"It's a very tragic case that impacts our whole community," Swink said.

Rutchey remains jailed on $100,000 bail after briefly appearing in court Monday for a scheduling hearing.

The murder charge is the latest run-in with the law for Rutchey, who has convictions for obstruction of justice, theft and fraud dating to 2000, Utah court records show. She has 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 ordered to keep seeing a psychologist in Logan.

Perry said he's only spoken once with Rutchey and doesn't know much yet about the woman.

Swink said investigators know the identity of the boy's father but not whether he is in the country. He is not suspected in the boy's death.

Rutchey does not have any other children under her care, Swink said.

The Cache County Sheriff's Office declined to comment on the case, referring comment to the county attorney's office.

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

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