Friday, March 12, 2010

Stepmom poisons and kills 21-month-old boy during dad's visitation (Elmira, New York)

In this case, the stepmom is charged with murdering her 21-month-old stepson by poison (methanol) during visitation with his father. Notice that no one is blaming the father, GEORGE ENGELHARDT, though mothers--even viciously battered mothers--are routinely blamed and slut-baited when their boyfriends or the stepdad commit a crime against the children.

The mother is referrred to here as the "birth mother," which I find to be a rather condescending term, especially outside the context of adoption. And many find the term "birth mother" condescending even within an adoption context.

Elmira Woman Charged With Killing Her Stepson
Katherine Underwood

March 12, 2010

ELMIRA --- Police say an Elmira woman killed her 21-month-old stepson by poison.

They say it all happened while the child was visiting his father, George Engelhardt, here in Elmira.

Elmira Police arrested George’s wife, Melissa, Thursday night for direct involvement in the child's death.

The arrest comes after a four-month investigation and police say it's not over yet.

Elmira Police Captain, Joseph Kain tells WENY-TV News, back in November, police responded to a house on Lake Street for an unresponsive child.

They found 21-month-old Andrew Cianfrini dead in Melissa Engelhardt's home.

“Melissa Engelhardt provided the poison to Andrew,” Captain Kain said.

Police Say 24-year-old Melissa Engelhardt poisoned Andrew.

Melissa’s husband, George Engelhardt of Elmira, is Andrew’s biological father.

Police say he was not involved in his son's death.

“Mister Engelhardt was very forthcoming, very cooperative, obviously very distraught over the situation, even further distraught when he realized that his wife was directly involved with the killing of his child,” Captain Kain explained.

Andrew lived in Batavia with his mother and big brother, and was visiting his father when the alleged crime took place.

The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death as poisoning by methanol, a common ingredient in anti-freeze.

Police think Melissa Engelhardt put the toxic chemical in Andrew’s juice.

Captain Kain explains why Engelhardt's charged with manslaughter, not murder.

“You could intentionally poison somebody, but not mean to kill them and as a result from the poisoning he ended up dying,” Captain Kain said.

Engelhardt was in court Friday morning.

She was assigned a public defender and taken to Chemung County Jail.

Andrew’s birth mother reacted on her MySpace page Friday.

She wrote, “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my life, let's just say justice will always come, you might just have to wait a lil while."

Police are still gathering facts and Engelhardt could face additional charges.

She’s pregnant and has a one-year-old child with George Engelhardt.