Cottage Grove manslaughter case featured on Nancy Grace cable showTalk show host Nancy Grace put a cable-TV spotlight on the case of Toni A. Medrano, who was charged this month with manslaughter in connection with her 3-week-old son’s death in their Cottage Grove home last year.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A Cottage Grove woman accused of suffocating her infant son after drinking heavily caught cable television attention.
Talk show host Nancy Grace put a cable-TV spotlight on the case of Toni A. Medrano, who was charged this month with manslaughter in connection with her 3-week-old son’s death in their Cottage Grove home last year. Washington County prosecutors allege Medrano, 29, drank a bottle of vodka before falling asleep on a couch with her newborn son. She awoke hours later and the baby was unresponsive. A medical examiner concluded the baby was suffocated.
“Did Mommy booze it up and kill her baby?” Grace boasted at the beginning of a six-minute segment that appeared on her show’s website to promote the TV segment. Medrano is referred to as “Vodka Mom” in the feature.
During the segment, Grace, known for focusing on sensational crime news, interviewed a doctor and retired police captain outside of Minnesota and unrelated to the Cottage Grove investigation. As they discussed the case, Grace poured vodka into glasses to count how many glasses are in a fifth-bottle of booze.
Grace also interviewed Cottage Grove police detective Greg Malcolm by phone. Malcolm was an investigator on the Medrano case. Malcolm said Medrano told police she drank the day before the newborn’s death and then again in the hours before she went to sleep on a couch with the infant. Police don’t know how much alcohol Medrano drank in total, but they found empty booze bottles in the home, Malcolm said.
“She is so drunk off of a fifth of vodka she doesn’t even know her baby is laying there dead beside her,” Grace claimed. “There were hours of there, there was a long period of time that baby’s life could’ve been saved.”
A story about the death that appeared on the show’s website generated Facebook comments from around the country. The show is on the HLN channel.
The newborn died Nov. 22, 2011. The criminal complaint against Medrano alleges she fell asleep about midnight after drinking. She woke up a few times to talk to her other children the next morning but went back to sleep with the newborn on the couch with her. She awoke after 10 a.m. and the baby was not breathing and was cold to the touch. Charges were filed June 7, following an investigation that was delayed because authorities were awaiting medical lab results.