Carbondale woman pleads to lesser charge in child poisonings
Maria Alvarado-Gomez, the woman who admitted to feeding her daughters rat poison last June, plead guilty Monday to child abuse through manufacture of a controlled substance, a class 3 felony.
Alvarado-Gomez, 33, was initially arrested on two counts of first-degree attempted murder, a class 2 felony, but the charges were amended to permit a plea on a lesser charge.
“There is no factual basis for this plea,” explained Public Defender Tina Fang. “This plea was a negotiated settlement so that Ms. Alvarado-Gomez could avoid a conviction on a more serious count.”
The lesser charge is not treated as a crime of violence and does not come with mandatory prison sentence, but will likely carry penalties of four to 16 years in prison. A half day sentencing hearing will take place on June 1.
District Attorney Sherry Caloia said her office chose it out of several felony child abuse charges because they felt it best matched the case.
“We thought this one fit the best out of all of them,” she said.
According to Caloia, the girls suffered no permanent physical injuries after consuming milkshakes laced with rat poison on June 30, 2014. Alvarado-Gomez told police she got the idea of using rat poison from a television show. When her daughters complained about the taste, she told them the shakes contained vitamins.
The incident wasn’t reported until the next day, when Alvarado-Gomez was at a regular doctor’s appointment complaining of trouble sleeping.
The girls were taken to Valley View Hospital by ambulance and later released into their father’s care. A search of the home yielded an empty container of rodent poison containing brodifacoum, which included a warning: “Keep out of the reach of children. May be harmful or fatal if ingested.”
Symptoms of brodifacoum poisoning usually take a couple of days to become apparent, and the most common treatment is administration of vitamin K.
Alvarado-Gomez, who also consumed some of the poison, told investigators via interpreter that “she did not want to suffer anymore and she did not want her children to suffer anymore,” and that she “would rather the children be dead than alive in Mexico,” where she said the girls’ father wanted to take them.
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