Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
Couple Face Second Degree Murder for Baby's Death
Prosecutors say giving infant OTC drugs is a crime punishable to the full extent of the long arm of the law.
Unknown address on 44th Street, Talmadge
Death on October 25, 2006; murder charges filed in 2008
A couple from Washington State, Thomas and Lorrie Boettger, now face murder charges here in San Diego, as well as child abuse, resulting from the death of their 6-month-old son, Thomas II.
Apparently, Thomas II was restless and crying a lot, so the parents administered over-the-counter drugs to make the baby sleep. They told police their baby suffered from colic and acid reflux.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office eventually ruled the October 25, 2006, death of Thomas II due to intoxication of the antihistamine and sleeping medications Unisom, Zantac, Benadryl and Sominex, according to the report issued. Thomas Boettger had given the baby four to six tablets of sleeping medication crushed together and administered orally by syringe, stated the report.
Lorrie Boettger told authorities that they learned how to do this from an Internet web page.
Bruises were also found on the baby's arm.
The Boettgers were visiting San Diego with their infant son and 10-year-old daughter from Lorrie’s previous marriage, stated the SDPD report on the case.
The Boettger family went to Disneyland; after, they stayed with a niece on 44th Street in Talmadge. About 7 a.m. on October 25, the niece called 911 and said the baby was not breathing.
Police found the deceased baby on the bedroom floor.
The Bottegers, both 39, were arrested last March in Seattle and extradited to San Diego to face child abuse charges. They now also face second-degree murder charges for what the District Attorney's Office contends is "conscious disregard for human life" for giving an infant medications intended for adults.
The couple had been trying to have a baby for a long time, with five miscarriages before Thomas II was born. Lorrie has two daughters from a pervious marriage.
They are both being held in custody on $1 million bail each. If convicted, they could face 15 years to life in prison.
The trial is scheduled to begin June 25, 2008, in the San Diego Superior Court.