Woman accused of drowning son declared a threat to self

Saturday, December 4th 2004, 11:37 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ A Quapaw woman who said God told her to let go of her 18-month-old son in the Spring River, drowning him, has been declared a threat to herself and others and ordered to remain at a mental health facility for treatment.

Toni Elizabeth Torres, 30, was declared legally insane in October by Ottawa County District Judge Robert G. Haney, who then referred her to a maximum-security mental health facility for 30 days for an evaluation.

On Friday, Haney ordered Torres to remain at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita _ formerly known as Eastern State Hospital _ for further treatment after her initial 30-day evaluation found her to be a danger to herself and others.

The courts will receive annual reports concerning Torres' condition, and Haney ordered the mental health facility to notify the court at least 20 days before it releases her.

Torres pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to a first-degree murder charge after the body of her son, Alex Torres, was pulled from the Spring River in August 2003.

Torres, who was a counselor at a private juvenile treatment center near Miami, at first told investigators that the boy fell into the river when she slipped on its muddy bank.

She later said she swam into the middle of the channel. There, she pushed the boy away, watched him briefly bob up and down and then swam to the opposite shore as her 10-year-old son, unable to swim, screamed for help.

Torres contended that God told her to let go of her son in the water.

She initially told reporters after her arrest that she was under a psychiatrist's care at the time. She told an arraignment judge that she was disabled by bipolar, or manic-depressive, disorder.

According to authorities, a blood test taken the day before Torres' arrest revealed the presence of diazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, in her blood system.