Mother charged with murder in death of Cache County toddler

Published: Friday, Oct. 25 2013 11:45 a.m. MDT

RIVER HEIGHTS, Cache County — The mother of a 2-year-old boy who died mysteriously in September was charged Friday with murder.

Heidi Marie Rutchey, 42, was charged in 1st District Court with murder, a first-degree felony.

On Sept. 4, the body of Eli Rutchey was found by police in his River Heights home. At the time, investigators weren't sure if his death was the result of a tragic accident or a homicide. An autopsy listed the cause of death as "undetermined," but toxicology and pathology tests were still pending.

The investigation began earlier that afternoon when Heidi Rutchey showed up at Logan Regional Hospital. She did not have any obvious signs of trauma, but there was something about her condition, as well as questions about the welfare of her son, that prompted hospital staff to call police, according to police.

Rutchey was eventually transported to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray for an evaluation while sheriff's deputies went to her house and found the deceased boy.

At the time, police could not comment on the condition of the boy's house or where in the house the boy was found, saying it was part of the evidence. The mother and child were the only people who lived there.

Rutchey was scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon.

In 2001, Rutchey was convicted of felony theft in Farmington's 2nd District Court. She was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment, according to court records. During that case, a competency exam was also ordered for Rutchey, according to court records.

In 2002, the court was informed that Rutchey was admitted to the state hospital in Idaho for five months, court records state.

In 2011, Rutchey was convicted of misdemeanor obstruction of justice in 1st District Court. During that case, attorneys considered at one point having Rutchey appear in mental health court, according to state records, but she later decided against it.

As part of her probation, she was ordered to continue taking her medication and seeing her counselor, according to court records. In a letter submitted to the court in November 2012, the counselor said Rutchey was making "significant progress" and she was at the best she had been in a long time, court records state.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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