Police: Mom poisoned, suffocated baby before Como Park crash

A 22-year-old mother told St. Paul police she suffocated her 1-month-old baby, then crashed her car into a tree near Como Park in an apparent suicide attempt late Wednesday morning.

Shew Htoo was charged Thursday with second-degree murder in baby Michael's death. According to the charges, Htoo prepared a "60 mL mixture of baby formula, sweets, 3 sleeping pills and substances for killing bed bugs."  She bottle-fed the mixture to her son around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, then drank another preparation of the mixture herself around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.

When the mother and baby unexpectedly woke up Wednesday morning, she suffocated the boy with her hands. She admitted that the baby cried and moved his hands up and down while he was suffocated.

The crash

Htoo crashed her car into a light pole off Midway Avenue near Como Zoo just after 11 a.m. Wednesday. Paramedics pronounced 1-month-old Michael Htoo dead at the crash site and believed that he had died before the accident. When asked by first responders if the baby was dead before she got in the car, Htoo said yes.

Htoo said she chose Como Park as a place to crash her car because it is "quieter and less populated."

Help is available

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255. The hotline has trained staff available 24/7 to help those in crisis. Everyone can play a role in preventing suicide by being aware of the warning signs of suicidal behaviors:

- Talking about wanting to die; feeling hopeless, trapped, or in unbearable pain, being a burden to others

- Looking for a way to kill oneself

- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

- Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless

- Sleeping too little or too much

- Withdrawing or feeling isolated

- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

- Displaying extreme mood swings.

What you can do

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide:

- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)

- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

- If possible, do not leave the person alone.