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Oct 8, 2014 12:53 PM

Cops: Pair put booze in boy's IV, factor in death

The Associated Press

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) A woman and her boyfriend were due to appear in court Wednesday on charges they put alcohol in her disabled 13-year-old son's IV tube, contributing to his death.

Melissa Robitille and Walter Richter III were charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in the August death of Isaac Robitille. They faced arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Caledonia County.

Police say Isaac was born with significant medical conditions and disabilities that required the assistance of caretakers, feeding tubes and intravenous tubes.

The couple, both 38, were charged with using the IV tube to administer alcohol to the boy, leading to his death. An autopsy found his blood-alcohol content was about twice the legal limit for adult drivers.

Isaac's health conditions included a brain abnormality listed as the cause of death with the alcohol listed as a contributing factor.

Bail was set at $500,000 each for Robitille and Richter, who were jailed at the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury.

On her website, Robitille describes herself as a clothing and jewelry designer, interior decorator, dog breeder and writer who has self-published two paranormal romance novels. Her husband, Dana Robitille, died in January at 65.

In December 2005, Melissa Robitille and Isaac, who had just turned 5, appeared on WCAX-TV to talk about the special gift he was receiving from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a puppy named Tickle.

"Isaac's going to meet so many therapy goals just chasing Tickle around and reaching out because he needs to learn how to reach out and feel the world, because he's afraid of things that could hurt him, because he can't see them," she said. "And then later on, Tickle will learn to be an assistance dog."

Leslie Williams, CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Vermont, said the organization hadn't had contact with the family since then.

"Make-A-Wish is always very sad when one of our wish kids passes away and we offer our condolences to Isaac's extended family and friends," she said.


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