Why Was This Woman Released?

by Published on

Details are leaking out about the horrific case of Otty Sanchez, a San Antonio woman who allegedly murdered her infant son on Sunday and then reportedly ate parts of the child’s mutilated body, included the brain.

The AP story is here (I warn you: the story is graphic and deeply disturbing, so click on that link with caution).

Sanchez told police that she had been hearing voices and that the devil told her to murder his son. She, quite obviously, isn’t of sound mind. The AP reports:

Otty Sanchez’s aunt, Gloria Sanchez, said her niece had been ‘in and out’ of a psychiatric ward, and that the hospital called several months ago looking to check up on her. She did not elaborate on the nature of her niece’s health problems.

Police haven’t yet released details of Sanchez’s history with mental illness. But you have to wonder why she wasn’t still in a psychiatric facility.

One thing to keep in mind: Texas has hardly any in-patient beds for adults with severe mental illness. State hospitals are always at capacity and can house adults with mental illness for only a few months at a time before patients must be released.

I wonder: Was this tragedy caused at least partly by Texas’ feeble and under-funded mental-health system?

Dave Mann has been with the Observer since 2003. Before that, he worked as a reporter in Fort Worth and Washington, D.C. He was born and raised in Philadelphia. He thinks border collies are the world’s greatest dogs, and believes in the nourishing powers of pickup basketball.