Local News

Two charged with homicide of disabled child

HARDWICK—A Hardwick mother and her boyfriend are in custody, facing charges of second- degree murder after state police said the two put alcohol in the I.V. bag of the woman’s disabled son.

Walter Richters and Melissa Robitille, both 38, were charged in the Aug. 22 death of Isaac Robitille. They pleaded innocent Wednesday afternoon in St. Johnsbury criminal court and were ordered held without bail. The man had previously told police he poured vodka into the IV feeding tube of his girlfriend’s disabled 13-year-old son to settle him down, a dose of alcohol that contributed to his death, according to court documents.

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, Vermont State Police announced that Robitille and Richter, both of Hardwick, had been lodged at the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury with bail set at $500,000, each.

The case stemmed from a 9-1-1 call Aug. 22, 2014, at about 9 a.m., from the residence of Robitille and Richter, reporting a deceased 13-year-old male. Officers from the Hardwick Police Department were dispatched immediately to the residence, along with rescue. Upon arrival the officers and emergency medical personnel verified that the child was deceased.

Officers from Hardwick Police Department initiated an investigation and learned that the caller, Melissa Robitille, discovered that her son, Isaac Robitille, had died that morning. Investigators also learned that Isaac was born with significant medical conditions, including multiple physical handicaps that required significant assistance of caretakers, feeding tubes, and I.V.s to keep him alive.

The boy was transported to the Vermont Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The toxicology report, received on Sept. 5, indicated that Isaac’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.146%. The OCME reported the cause of death as “semi-lobar holoprosencephaly with a contributory cause of death as alcohol” and the manner of death as “homicide.”

Through the course of the investigation, it was learned that Robitille and Richter had put alcohol in Isaac’s I.V. bag and administered it to him, ultimately becoming the contributory cause of Isaac’s death.

If convicted, the couple could face a sentence of 20 years to life.

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