We’ve written post after post about the potential dangers of co-sleeping, one of them being the threat of rolling over on top of your baby, suffocating them. That’s why co-sleeping advocates always remind mothers not to drink alcohol or use drugs before they lay down with an infant. Unfortunately, many babies die each year from co-sleeping with parents who were under the influence, a tragedy to be sure. But a recent co-sleeping death has gone from a tragedy that the family may have eventually been able to move beyond to a tragedy that has totally destroyed the lives of three children. That’s because the mother in question committed suicide by lighting herself on fire, an act some say was caused by Nancy Grace’s abusive criticism surrounding the co-sleeping death of her son.
29-year-old Toni Medrano of Cottage Grove, Minnesota died Saturday, most likely as a result of injuries she sustained from setting herself ablaze on July 2. Medrano’s family says that she was cyberbullied horrendously after the June 11 episode of Nancy Grace’s HLN show during which the pundit dubbed Medrano “Vodka Mom” and called for murder charges in the co-sleeping death because Medrano had been drinking vodka the night she fell asleep and accidentally smothered her son. Grace said, “The baby is dead because of vodka Mommy. I don’t care if she was driving a car, holding a pistol or holding a fifth of vodka. [It] doesn’t matter to me. The baby is dead at the hands of the mommy.”
The Huffington Post reports that “Greg Malcolm, a detective with the Cottage Grove Police Department, which investigated the infant’s death, said he believed the child’s death was accidental.” Malcolm told reporters, “I sincerely don’t believe that (Medrano) had any intent to cause harm to her child on this evening. By all other accounts, she’s been a productive mom, a good mom. She’s done a decent job of raising her children. She, unfortunately, was in the habit of sleeping with this particular child from the day it came home from the hospital.”
Medrano showed remorse for the baby’s death before killing herself, but apparently watching Nancy Grace’s commentary put her over the edge. According to Medrano’s sister, Medrano “watched Grace’s show about the baby’s death. Afterward, she was shaking and couldn’t take a breath.” Medrano’s mother says her daughter fell into a deep depression and that Grace’s coverage of her case “broke her spirit in the worst way.” Chief Monahan notes that Grace’s coverage “very well could have” prompted Medrano’s suicide. But, as Gawker notes, “Legally, of course, Grace is not culpable. County Attorney Pete Orput made it clear that it was Medrano’s own decision to set herself on fire.”
This isn’t the first time a mother berated by Grace has committed suicide. According to the Daily News, “In 2006, Florida mother Melinda Duckett appeared on Grace’s show and was questioned as to why she didn’t provide more information in the disappearance of her 2-year-old son, Trenton. Duckett, 21, later shot herself in the head, and her family claimed it was due, in part, to being humiliated by Grace.”
Photo via HuffPo