Mother says she let toddler loose in river

Sunday, August 24th 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) -- An Ottawa County woman has confessed to drowning her toddler, saying a higher power told her to do it, officials said.

Toni E. Torres, 29, of Quapaw, was arrested Friday and jailed on a murder complaint for the death of her 17-month-old son.

During a videotaped interview, Torres told investigators that she let her son Alex loose into the river.

Torres, who was initially identified as Kim Torres, had told police her son had fallen into the Spring River while she struggled to free herself from mud along the riverbank.

But after visiting the area where the drowning occurred, Torres confessed to letting her son go in the water.

Torres told investigators that she acted after receiving information from a higher power.

Alex Torres was found by a fisherman after he had been underwater for about 30 minutes, said Ottawa County Sheriff Dennis King.

A fisherman called police at about 9 p.m. Thursday after finding Alex Torres. The toddler's 10-year-old brother was screaming for help on the opposite side of the river.

Police said Toni Torres drove down a rural road and into a heavily wooded area where her vehicle got stuck on a log.

Torres told the 10-year-old to get in the water along with her and his brother, but the boy, who cannot swim, was able to make it back to the shore, King said.

He has been placed in protective custody by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Torres has not told investigators or jailers that she suffers from any mental illness or that she is taking any sort of medication.

King said that Torres' husband, Leon Lewis Torres, died about six weeks ago.

Torres has agreed to a toxicology screening. Those results should be available in about three weeks, King said.

Torres remains in jail on suicide watch with no bail. Formal charges could be filed this week.

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