ONTD Political

Toni Medrano, Dubbed 'Vodka Mom' By Nancy Grace, Committed Suicide, Police Say

2:23 am - 07/13/2012
Toni Medrano, Dubbed 'Vodka Mom' By Nancy Grace, Committed Suicide, Police Say

Nancy Grace is in the spotlight again following the suicide of a 29-year-old Minnesota mother of four who was recently featured on her television show.

According to the St. Paul Park Police Department, Toni Medrano, of Cottage Grove, Minn., died Saturday at a local hospital. It is believed Medrano's death is the result of a July 2 incident in which she allegedly set herself on fire while visiting her mother's St. Paul Park home.

"Through the preliminary investigation, the officers determined there was a flammable liquid that she used to set herself on fire," St. Paul Park Police Chief Michael Monahan told The Huffington Post.

While authorities say they suspect Medrano's death is a suicide, an official cause of death is pending.

"I can tell you preliminarily that she died of complications from thermal injuries -- that means fire," said Don Gorrie, a spokesman for the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office. "We won't be signing the death certificate until all of our testing process is done ... and it could be weeks."

Last month, Grace dubbed Medrano "vodka mom", because the woman had allegedly killed her newborn after a night of heavy drinking.

"The baby is dead because of vodka mommy," Grace said during her June 11 show on HLN. "I don't care if she was driving a car, holding a pistol or holding a fifth of vodka. [It] doesn't matter to me. The baby is dead at the hands of the mommy."

Medrano's 3-week-old son, Adrian Alexander Medrano, died while sleeping on the couch with her on Nov. 22, 2011. According to the criminal complaint, Toni Medrano told police she had consumed almost an entire fifth of vodka the night before her son died and fell asleep with him on a couch. The following morning, she woke up and found her infant son unresponsive and cold to the touch.

Medrano's husband told authorities he had awoken to his wife screaming, "the baby is dead," according to the criminal complaint. Medrano's husband called 911, but paramedics were unable to resuscitate the child. The baby was pronounced dead at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury.

According to the criminal complaint, a preliminary blood-alcohol test conducted by police showed Medrano's level to be .11 percent, which is three points higher than the state's legal driving limit.

An autopsy by the county medical examiner's office determined Adrian Medrano had died of "asphyxia due to being laid upon while sleeping with an adult."

In June, Medrano was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter. If convicted on both counts, Medrano would have faced a maximum of 10 years behind bars.

During her television show about the baby's death, Grace said the charges filed against Medrano weren't harsh enough.

"I don't see how this whole thing was an accident and I want murder charges," Grace said.

Greg Malcolm, a detective with the Cottage Grove Police Department, which investigated the infant's death, said he believed the child's death was accidental.

"I sincerely don't believe that she had any intent to cause harm to her child on this evening," Malcolm said. "By all other accounts, she's been a productive mom, a good mom. She's done a decent job of raising her children. She, unfortunately, was in the habit of sleeping with this particular child from the day it came home from the hospital."

Medrano's sister, Maria Phillips, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune her sister had watched Grace's show about the baby's death. Afterward, she was "shaking and couldn't take a breath," Phillips said.

Medrano's husband, Jason Medrano, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the show, as well as the Internet comments that followed it, were cruel.

"The things people said were horrible," he told the newspaper. "It shows that cyberbullying happens to adults, too."

Speaking with Fox 9 News, Medrano's mother, Yvonne Hill, said her daughter fell into a depression.

"She was trying to build and get by and live with what happened," Hill said. "When she saw that, it broke her spirit in the worst way."

Chief Monahan told The Huffington Post his agency is still investigating what prompted Medrano's alleged suicide. Asked if her child's death being featured on national television may have played a role, Michael responded, "It very well could [have]."

Regardless of what pushed her to allegedly take her own life, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said it was Medrano who ultimately made the decision to set herself on fire.

"She chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem," he told the Star-Tribune.

The case of Medrano's death is not the first in which Grace's name has surfaced.

In Sept. 2006, 21-year-old Melinda Duckett, of Leesburg, Fla., killed herself after Grace interviewed her about the disappearance of her 2-year-old son, Trenton.

Trenton Duckett disappeared on Aug. 27, 2006. According to Melinda Duckett, she put her son to bed that night, only to later discover that he was missing.

On Sept. 8, Grace questioned Duckett on national TV, asking her where she had been the day her son disappeared.

"Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day, you were the last person to be seen with him?" Grace inquired. Duckett responded that she was not going to put "those kind[s] of details out," to which Grace responded, "Ms. Duckett, you are not telling us for a reason. What is the reason? You refuse to give even the simplest facts of where you were with your son before he went missing. It is day 12." Grace then moved on to Dr. Lillian Glass, a psychologist, who stated Duckett was "skirting around the issue."

Melinda Duckett did not give any other interviews following her appearance on Grace's show. She shot and killed herself the same day the pre-taped interview was scheduled to air. Less than two weeks later, the Leesburg Police Department named Duckett the prime suspect in Trenton's disappearance. The child remains missing.

In a Sept. 15, 2006 interview on "Good Morning America," Grace said that she took no responsibility for Duckett's suicide.

"If anything, I would suggest that guilt made her commit suicide," Grace told ABC News' Chris Cuomo. "To suggest that a 15- or 20-minute interview can cause someone to commit suicide is focusing on the wrong thing."

Duckett's family disagreed and filed a lawsuit against Grace, claiming that her intense questioning had pushed Duckett to commit suicide. The lawsuit stated that Grace and her associates inflicted "pain, suffering, embarrassment, humiliation [and] intimidation" on Duckett, which was ultimately the "cause or the proximate cause of her death by suicide."

The family sought damages in excess of $15,000 for funeral expenses and loss of wages, in addition to punitive damages, in an "amount sufficient" to punish the defendants.

On Nov. 8, 2010, Grace reached a settlement with the estate of Melinda Duckett to create a $200,000 trust fund dedicated to locating Trenton. Per the terms of the agreement, if the boy is found alive before he turns 13, the remaining proceeds will be administered by a trustee until he turns 18. Otherwise, the funds will be transferred to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

HLN, Grace's network, did not respond to a request for comment from HuffPost with regards to Medrano's death. Her mother, Yvonne Hill, declined to comment, citing the advice of her attorney.

Whether a lawsuit will be filed in Toni Medrano's case is yet to be seen. There is, however, little doubt that Medrano, like her son before her, died a horrible death.

"It is a terrible, terrible thing," Monahan said.


OP: Sorry if this has already been posted. I searched before submitting. XD And the tags... I wasn't sure so, er, yeah. Kinda went to town there.
evewithanapple 13th-Jul-2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
"I don't see how this whole thing was an accident and I want murder charges," Grace said.

Well then I guess it's a good thing you don't have any kind of legal authority, you fucking disgusting vulture.
doverz 13th-Jul-2012 01:40 pm (UTC)
This post annoyed me on the mothership. So many people were like, "This lady deserved to get harassed. She was drunk and killed her baby!" Yeah, she did, but there could have been a whole plethora of influencing factors, like post partum depression.
evewithanapple 13th-Jul-2012 02:06 pm (UTC)
But these things only ever happen to bad mothers! She's a bad mother! STONE HER!
sobota 13th-Jul-2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
She doesn't deserved to be harassed. But she did kill her baby. That's actually a bad thing.
doverz 13th-Jul-2012 03:42 pm (UTC)
Yes it was. And she was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter for it.
sobota 13th-Jul-2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
yep. i was just pointing out that no matter the factors, she did kill her baby. *

nancy grace, however, is a disgrace. no pun intended.

*edit to add: obviously there are accidents.

Edited at 2012-07-13 03:57 pm (UTC)
aella_irene 13th-Jul-2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
And it's not like it could never have happened if she'd been completely sober.
skellington1 13th-Jul-2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Exactly what I was thinking -- it's enough of a risk regardless of inebriation that doctors warn against sleeping with infants. Fucking traumatic and awful? Yes. Murder? No.
beoweasel 13th-Jul-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my cousin was talking about that the other day. While breastfeeding her child, she fell asleep (It was 2am in the morning at the time.), and instead of falling backward, she fell forward. It was only the muffled gasps of her baby that alerted my cousin she was about smother the poor thing with her boob. X_x
lady_borg 15th-Jul-2012 09:03 am (UTC)
Agreed, Co sleeping is still a common and normal thing with a lot of mothers.
maladaptive 13th-Jul-2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
And not like totally sober people don't do the same thing (accidentally roll over their baby if they're co-sleeping).

When I saw the title I expected something... more, especially when they talked about the legal driving limit. She's not driving.
dasvedanyaanya 16th-Jul-2012 07:18 am (UTC)
I think the reason they make a point to mention the legal driving limit and her blood alcohol level is because they took her blood alcohol levels in the morning after the baby had died. So after sleeping she had a still had .11, I think she had a bit of a drinking problem but it doesn't mean she should be harassed - if anything the situation should be handled sensitively because of her potential alcohol problems.
ahkna 13th-Jul-2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
"She chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem," he told the Star-Tribune.

In which way is the death of your child and subsequent charges being laid a "temporary problem"? The death of your child is the most permanent problem there is.
not_emily 13th-Jul-2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
ikr? I was trying to figure out how the death of a child is only a temporary problem.
skellington1 13th-Jul-2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
No shit.
cellared 13th-Jul-2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, seriously.

"a permanent solution to a temporary problem"? Thanks for your photo-copied platitude about suicidality, guy, but no thanks.
lilyginny27 13th-Jul-2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
Grace is a hateful, hateful woman, and some day later on in the future, karma will bite her in the ass.

It will be well deserved.
queenbathory 13th-Jul-2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
well she did almost die while giving birth...I don't know what else could bite her
kiri_l 13th-Jul-2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
omg.. that poor child saddled with a mother like that. Jerry Springer (or whom ever replaces him) will have a field day.
xerox78 14th-Jul-2012 04:02 am (UTC)
That's poor twins.
queenbathory 13th-Jul-2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
oh and her fiance was murdered
blondebeaker 13th-Jul-2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
This woman is a hateful, hateful turd.
likeahobbit 13th-Jul-2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Ugh, Nancy Grace makes me sick. I can't imagine the anguish that mother felt. She made a mistake that had devastating consequences and had hatred thrown in her face.

eversofar 13th-Jul-2012 03:05 pm (UTC)
i hate nancy grace's pointless witch hunts. this was clearly being handled by law enforcement, and it's not unimaginable that someone could accidentally smother a baby in their sleep. the day she gets booted off the air will be a good day.

Edited at 2012-07-13 03:06 pm (UTC)
layweed 13th-Jul-2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
Nancy Grace is such a horrible HORRIBLE person. HORRIBLE.
mandrill 13th-Jul-2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
So, Nancy Grace has managed to harass a SECOND woman into suiciding? Chalk up another one to Nancy!

People who are interested can read about the 2006 suicide of Melinda Duckett in Grace's Wikipedia.

Grace's program is trash and she needs to be fired.
nicosian 13th-Jul-2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'm stunned a grown woman can appear on air, act like that. She's a ghoul. She WANTS charges, so of course its ok to mock and bully.

What a wretched excuse for a human being.
queenbathory 13th-Jul-2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
The only positive about Nancy Grace's show is that she does talk about missing children (and no not all of them are white) there have been plenty of black missing children that I bet many people never knew where missing because ABC, NBC, CBS & Fox almost never report on them

the problem is as soon as Nancy Grace opens her mouth she ruins it...I wouldn't want her show to be cancelled...I just want them to fire her
the_archandroid 13th-Jul-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
"I don't see how this whole thing was an accident and I want murder charges," Grace said.

1. good thing the law doesn't accede to your whims
2. People could say the same thing about the suicide you caused there Nance.

lovedforaday 13th-Jul-2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
Two people have killed themselves after being hounded by Miss Nancy. Tells you a lot right there.

Nancy Grace's show could do a lot of good by spotlighting missing persons cases or (reasonably) campaigning for victims' rights, but everything has to be a spectacle with her. What's trying to build a narrative and using people's very real suffering to entertain to trying to actually do a public service? Fake crying, inserting yourself into everything and giving alleged perps cutesy names is more important.
kindelling 13th-Jul-2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Nancy Grace is the most disgusting, hateful bully on mainstream television.
celtic_thistle 13th-Jul-2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
Nancy Grace is fucking vile. The scorn she heaps on women like the ones mentioned in the article is completely ridiculous. She is a goddamn bully.
myrrhmade 13th-Jul-2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
JFC Nancy Grace is awful. How is she even still employed after shit like this. Also, how the fuck is this possibly murder? Negligent homicide, invol manslaughter, something along those lines I can see, but fucking murder?
doverz 13th-Jul-2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
The mom was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter so definitely not considered murder.
myrrhmade 13th-Jul-2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I saw that too. I think I'm just ranting about fucking Nancy fucking hateful Grace and her rabid lack of humanity.
agentsculder 13th-Jul-2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
It can't be murder. At least not under most legal systems. Murder requires some sort of intent to harm or kill. This poor woman passed out either from intoxication or exhaustion. Either way, she had no intent to harm her child, which is why she was never charged with murder. It was terrible, horrible accident.
myrrhmade 13th-Jul-2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
evewithanapple 13th-Jul-2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
I just googled Medrano and Duckett (the last woman Grace bullied to death) and both were nonwhite- Medrano black, Duckett Asian.

deleriumd 13th-Jul-2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
This isn't the first time that monster has driven someone to suicide.
nesmith 14th-Jul-2012 01:20 am (UTC)
Nancy Grace has as much right to throw around legal opinions as I do.
evewithanapple 14th-Jul-2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
But do we really want her with actual power over criminal cases?
girly123 15th-Jul-2012 04:40 am (UTC)
At least if she did, there's the possibility of her being permanently disbarred.
furrygreen 14th-Jul-2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
Don't give her any ideas! D:
lady_borg 15th-Jul-2012 09:06 am (UTC)
What the fuck is with this women and why the fuck does she still have a job.
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