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Authorities say woman fatally poisoned her adopted handicapped 11-year-old son

Photo by Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images

The Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 62-year-old woman, after she reportedly fatally poisoned her adopted son in September, and charged her with criminal homicide, the Meadeville Tribune reports.

What are the details?

Mary Eileen Diehl called 911 on the morning of Sept. 6, alleging that her handicapped, adopted son was dead in his bed.

First responders rushed to the scene to find the boy, 11-year-old Najir William Diehl, unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene.

Authorities initially believed that Najir, who was chronically ill and unable to walk on his own, died of natural causes — but toxicology reports proved the theory wrong, according to local reports.

After several months of investigations into the child's death, Paula DiGiacomo, first assistant district attorney for Crawford County, said that authorities believed they uncovered evidence that Diehl intentionally poisoned the child over a period of less than 24 hours.

"State police have been working hard on the case and as a result of their further investigation ... they then had probable cause to believe she (Diehl) should be charged with first-degree homicide — intentionally killing," DiGiacomo said.

A copy of the criminal complaint stated that toxicology tests showed that Diehl "on or about September 5, 2021, with malice, premeditation, and the specific intent to kill, did have the care dependent victim ingest poison for the purposes of causing his death."

A motive for the alleged killing has not been made publicly known at the time of this reporting, and DiGiacomo declined to comment when pressed for an answer, according to Law & Crime. She did, however, reveal that a second child — a female — in Diehl's care was removed from the home following the arrest.

The specific substance that Diehl reportedly used to poison Najir remains unnamed at the time of this reporting.

Diehl is currently being held without bond at the Crawford County Correctional Facility in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, and is scheduled to appear before a judge on Nov. 23.

Pennsylvania law states that a first-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.

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