Otty Sanchez is accused of decapitating and mutilating her infant son, Scott Wesley Buchholz Sanchez, who was born June 30. Photo: Courtesy Photo / SL
|The 33-year-old woman who police said decapitated her infant son and ate parts of his body had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and postpartum psychosis before the slaying at a North Side home this weekend, the family said Monday.|
Otty Sanchez confessed to killing Scott Wesley Buchholz Sanchez on Sunday with a steak knife and two swords before mutilating the corpse and eating body parts that included the brain, nose and toes, police said.
She has been charged with capital murder and remained under 24-hour observation Monday at University Hospital, where she was treated for self-inflicted knife wounds.
The father of the baby now is asking that she “pay the ultimate price.”
“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 W. Buchholz, who referred to his child as “baby Scotty.” “She needs to be put to death for what she has done.”
Sanchez’s relatives, however, are hoping authorities will take into consideration her history of mental illness, which included a recent diagnosis of postpartum psychosis.
“It’s just tragic and unbelievable what happened,” said Greg Garcia, Sanchez’s first cousin who considers her a sister. “She was a good, hard-working person, but she had been diagnosed with schizophrenia last year.”
The crime happened at Sanchez’s mother’s home in the 300 block of Wayside Drive sometime between 1:30 and 4:30 a.m. When officers arrived about 5 a.m. to find baby Scotty’s mutilated body, Sanchez quickly confessed to the macabre crime, police said.
“She was hysterical, screaming, ‘I killed my baby. I killed my baby,'” said Police Chief William McManus.
Child Protective Services officials said that Sanchez had never been investigated by the agency prior to the killing. The agency on Monday was at the home investigating conditions, because Sanchez’s sister’s children, ages 5 and 7, also live there.
Police said the sister, the two children and Sanchez’s mother were in the home at the time of the slaying. The adult women had each taken turns caring for baby Scotty at night so they could sleep in shifts. Sanchez’s shift began at 1:30 p.m. Her sister discovered the baby’s body about 4:30 a.m. and called police about 5 a.m.
The crime scene was so disturbing that the San Antonio Police Department has provided counseling services for some officers who entered the home.
“Normally you don’t see a scene of this magnitude in terms of the atrocity,” McManus said. “When you do, it certainly leaves a lasting impression.”
Sanchez told detectives that she was “hearing voices” and the devil made her kill the baby boy she had given birth to June 30.
The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office will soon review the homicide detectives’ recommended capital murder charge, which is punishable by the death penalty.
“You can still be prosecuted if you have some form of mental illness,” said First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg. “The test is if you understand the difference between right and wrong. The question is whether or not you know your act is wrong.”
Defense attorneys can request competency hearings to determine whether Sanchez is fit to stand trial.
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.