Hotchkiss Guilty in Death of Daughter
Ludusky Hotchkiss, 30, of Sandstone pleaded guilty Thursday to second degree manslaughter for the death of her 10-year-old daughter Lakesha Victor, who starved to death in 2006.
The other charges against Hotchkiss are dropped as part of the plea deal. Originally, she faced a count of second degree homicide.
Sentencing is set for June 25th. Hotchkiss is free until her sentencing date.
Second degree manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. According to court records, part of the plea, is that Hotchkiss serve a maximum 48 months in prison.
According to the criminal complaint, Pine County Sheriffs were called to the residence of 205 Nobles Street in Hinckley on August 20th, 2006. There they discovered Victor dead. Victor was found unresponsive by another child who lived in the house.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiners Office conducted an autopsy on August 21, 2006. The findings concluded Victor suffered from Pneumonia, Cachexia, and dehydration. A feeding tube was also in place, and the examiner found contusions on her forehead and left leg, erythema of the right elbow, right hip, heels and top of the feet, and cerebral abnormalities.
Victor had a history of Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and Seizure Disorder.
Doctors found that a lack of nutrition would have made Victor even more susceptible to her already existent case of Pneumonia. Hotchkiss did not take her daughter to the hospital once during the summer of 2006, even after noticing Victor was losing weight.
Investigators were concerned with the finding of Cachexia, which is a medical term for the general physical wasting and malnutrition which is usually associated with a chronic disease. Malnutrition is common with patients who have Cerebral Palsy but the feeding tube is inserted to counter the concern.
In February of 2005, Victor was hospitalized due to severe seizures. Hotchkiss told medical staff that she was not giving her daughter her prescribed anti-seizure medication because she did not like the side effects. However, Hotchkiss never described the side-effects to authorities.
During the 2005 hospital visit, Victor was given a feeding tube due to her weight and nutrition. Doctors also prescribed she take at least six cans of Pediasure per day. Pediasure is a nutritional drink for children to provide needed vitamins, proteins and minerals. The feeding tube was intended to regulate the flow of Pediasure.
The complaint states that between March and April of 2006 Pediatric Home Services delivered 116 cases of Pediasure for Victor. Each case contained 24 eight ounce cans. Typically, an order would be placed every month for eight cases. No cases were ordered of delivered in May or June of 2006. Eight cases were delivered on July 7th, but then no orders or deliveries in August of 2006.
Hotchkiss told authorities she was giving her daughter twelve cans a day, but investigators say in the time leading up to Victor’s death, Hotchkiss did not order enough Pediasure to feed her daughter eight cans per day. At the time of Victors death, Hotchkiss said she had four cases left over.
The criminal complaints states that a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) was hired to help care for Victor. Ti-heim Coston, the brother of Hotchkiss’ ex-boyfriend, took the job. He told police he was not responsible for feeding Victor. According to his time sheets, Coston took care of her between 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. Victor typically took the Pediasure before her bedtime, which was at 9 p.m.
Neighbors told police Coston was rarely at the residence. One neighbor told investigators that Hotchkiss told her that she would sign off on Coston’s time sheets even though he was not doing the work so they could split the PCA money he was paid.