The scene was so gruesome that investigators could barely speak: A three-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 on Monday. “No one was speaking. It was about as somber as it could have been.”
Officers called to the home early on 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 on Monday at a hospital and was being held on US$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 five and seven, were in the house, but none was harmed.
Police said Sanchez did not have an attorney, and they declined to identify family members.
No one answered the door on Monday at Sanchez’s home, where the blinds were shut. A hopscotch pattern and red hearts were drawn on the walk leading up to the house.
Sanchez’s aunt, Gloria Sanchez, said her niece had been “in and out” of a psychiatric ward but did not say where she was treated or why. She said a hospital called several months ago to check up on her.
“Otty didn’t mean to do that. She was not in her right mind,” a sobbing Gloria Sanchez said on Monday by telephone.
She said her family was devastated.
Investigators are looking into Sanchez’s mental health history to see if there was anything “significant,” and whether postpartum difficulties could have factored into the attack, McManus said.
Postpartum depression and psychosis have been cited as contributing factors in several other cases in Texas in recent years in which mothers killed their children.
Andrea Yates drowned her five children in her Houston-area home 2001, saying she believed Satan was inside her and trying to save them from hell. Her attorneys said she had been suffering from severe postpartum psychosis, and a jury found Yates not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006.