Sheriff: Mother injects hand sanitizer, perfume in feeding tube of 17-month-old

Erika Wigstrom (Source: Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office)
Erika Wigstrom (Source: Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office)

BELLE CHASSE, LA (WAFB) - A Belle Chasse, La. mother was arrested after admitting she injected hand sanitizer and perfume into the feeding tube of her 17-month-old son, killing him, according to the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office.

On January 27, 2014, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office (PPSO) detectives were contacted by Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (JPSO) detectives about the death of 17-month-old Lucas Ruiz. Lucas died on Friday, January 24, 2014.

On the 24th, just after midnight, PPSO deputies and EMS responded to a home in the 100 block of XI Street in Belle Chasse. Reports say Ruiz was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

Lucas was taken to Oschner Hospital in Gretna and then to Children's Hospital in New Orleans. When he arrived in New Orleans, Lucas was pronounced dead and an autopsy was performed.

On March 7, 2014, the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office provided an autopsy report that indicated Lucas' blood alcohol content level was approximately.280 g/%. Lucas' cause of death was determined to be acute ethanol intoxication and the manner of death was homicide.

PPSO detectives met with JPSO detectives about Lucas' death, as well as the investigation of Cesar Ruiz, Lucas' father. Cesar was arrested for a prior poisoning incident of Lucas that happened on October 27, 2012.

Cesar is accused of poisoning Lucas with rum while he was awaiting open heart surgery at Ochsner Hospital in Jefferson.

Cesar allegedly confessed to Lucas' poisoning and was arrested by JPSO detectives for attempted 1st degree murder. On February 7, 2013, Cesar was charged in a bill of information in Jefferson Parish for the crime of 2nd degree cruelty to a juvenile. His case is pending in Jefferson Parish 24th Judicial District Court.

On Monday, March 11, 2014, PPSO Detectives interviewed Lucas' mother, 20-year-old Erika Wigstrom. During the interview, Wigstrom confessed to injecting hand sanitizer in Lucas' feeding tube before feeding him on January 23, 2014. Wigstrom also admitted to injecting perfume into Ruiz's feeding tube, while Lucas Ruiz was being treated at Ochsner Hospital in Jefferson on October 16, 2012.

Wigstrom told detectives that Cesar Ruiz was not the person who poisoned Lucas during that incident and that she in fact was the person who injected and poisoned him. Wigstrom informed investigators that she injected alcohol into Lucas' feeding tube on both occasions because she didn't want Lucas Ruiz to suffer any longer.

Wigstrom was arrested and booked with 1st degree murder. She appeared for a magistrate hearing Wednesday and no bond was set.

Wigstrom is currently incarcerated at the Belle Chasse Lockup.

April is child abuse prevention month. Officials with Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana have listed actions you can take to help prevent child abuse.

  • Encourage parents to make informed decisions about the caregivers they choose for their children.
  • Engage parents in learning about child development so they know what is developmentally appropriate to expect of their children.
  • Help connect struggling parents with community resources, like substance abuse treatment, parenting support programs and mental health treatment.
  • Provide parents with our parent helpline number: KIDLINE, 1-800-CHILDREN.  KIDLINE provides parenting support, information and connections to local community resources from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days per week, and is answered right here in Baton Rouge.
  • Visit our website at and check out our Resources tab.
  • Remind people to report suspected abuse and neglect to the authorities.  It isn't prevention, it is intervention, but we must watch out for ALL children in our communities and get families help when it's needed.

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