Friday, August 21, 2009


SAN ANTONIO — The scene was so gruesome investigators could barely speak: A 3 1/2-week-old boy lay dismembered in the bedroom of a single-story house, three of his tiny toes chewed off, his face torn away, his head severed and his brains ripped out.
"At this particular scene you could have heard a pin drop," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Monday. "No one was speaking. It was about as somber as it could have been."
Officers called to the home early Sunday found the boy's mother, Otty Sanchez, sitting on the couch with a self-inflicted wound to her chest and her throat partially slashed, screaming "I killed my baby! I killed my baby!" police said. She told officers the devil made her do it, police said.
Sanchez, 33, apparently ate the child's brain and some other body parts before stabbing herself, McManus said.
"It's too heinous for me to describe it any further," McManus told reporters.
Sanchez is charged with capital murder in the death of her son, Scott Wesley Buccholtz-Sanchez. She was being treated Monday at a hospital, and was being held on $1 million bail.
The slaying occurred a week after the child's father moved out, McManus said. Otty Sanchez's sister and her sister's two children, ages 5 and 7, were in the house, but none were harmed. The baby's father has called for his former partner to be executed.
'She was a sweet person and I still love her, but she needs to pay the ultimate price for what she has done,' said Scott Buchholtz.
'She needs to be put to death for what she has done.'
Police said Sanchez did not have an attorney, and they declined to identify family members.
Above, Sanchez is pictured with the baby. Sanchez and Buchholtz lived together during the pregnancy and the first two weeks after their son was born, Buchholtz said.
Sanchez's recovery from giving birth was complicated by an infection. That setback darkened her mood, and she was soon diagnosed with postpartum depression.
She moved out of the couple's shared home on July 20. On Saturday, she turned up to see Buchholtz at his parents' house.
She became agitated when he told her he needed copies of the baby's papers, Buchholtz said.
Sanchez ran out of the home with her son in a car seat, threw the car seat into the front passenger seat of her car and sped away without buckling him in, Buchholtz said.
She left behind a nappy bag, her handbag and medication.
Buchholtz's mother called police, and a sheriff's deputy investigated the incident as a disturbance, according to court records. The next day, authorities said, she killed her son.
Officers called to Sanchez's house at about 5am local time on Sunday found her sitting on the couch screaming 'I killed my baby! I killed my baby!' San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said.
Scott Wesley Buccholtz-Sanchez, Scott Bucholz, at his parents' home in San Antonio, Otty Sanchez pictured after her arrest Dr Lucy Puryear, a Houston psychiatrist and author, said mothers who experience postpartum psychosis often have a history of other mental disorders, but in some cases childbirth triggers the psychosis.
'It's usually really severe,' said Puryear, who wrote the book, 'Understanding Your Moods When You're Expecting.'
She testified as an expert witness in the case of Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children in Houston in 2001. While postpartum depression affects one in 10 mothers, Puryear said, the more severe condition of postpartum psychosis — which includes hallucinations — affects 1 in 1,000.
Puryear said postpartum psychosis includes delusional thoughts, hallucinations and an altered state of reality.
'The scary thing is that the delusions are usually always about the baby,' she said. 'In all of the (high profile) cases, the thinking involves the babies: The mother had to kill the baby to protect it, or God has spoken to the mother and there is a mission to kill the baby or sometimes the baby is the devil who needs to be gotten rid of to save the world,' she said.
Sanchez and Buchholz met in 2003, while they were enrolled in the San Antonio College of Medical and Dental Assistance.
The couple's volatile relationship was on and off for the past six years, but they became dedicated to making it work after learning she was pregnant last year, relatives said.
'She took really good care of herself during the pregnancy,' said Buchholz, who also has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. 'We were excited about having a baby.'
She worked until about two weeks before she gave birth. Acquaintances described Sanchez and her mother as devout Jehovah's Witnesses.'They would come up to our door every so often, but I told them I was Catholic, so they left,' said Elaine Calchin.
Buchholz's mother, Kathleen, said she had no idea that Sanchez had been diagnosed with the same mental illness her son had.
She thought that baby Scotty was the best thing that could have happened to the troubled couple. She is not sure what should happen to the baby's mother.
'I have mixed emotions,' she said. 'She needs to stay under psychiatric care. I love her. She was like a daughter. I don't want her out at this point, but that may change.'

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