Laredo, Texas: A mexican nurse who used lethal drugs on patients out of “boredom” is responsible for the deaths of 106 people, investigators said Thursday, noting the toll could rise further as more bodies are studied.
Miguel Saucedo, 41, was convicted in 2017 of 67 murders and four counts of attempted murder or causing bodily harm on intensive-care patients at the Laredo Medical Center, Laredo, Texas.
But exhumations and analyses since have uncovered evidence of scores of other victims, with police saying in August that Saucedo ad murdered more than 90 other patients.
On Thursday, police and prosecutors confirmed an additional 16 deaths, attributed to the nurse who worked at two hospitals between 2009 and 2015.
More deaths may still be uncovered with toxicology studies under way for five other cases, and exhumations of three former patients planned in Houston.
Prosecutors said they expect to bring the new charges against Saucedo early next year.
He has admitted to injecting patients with drugs that can cause heart failure or circulatory collapse so he could then try to revive them and, when successful, shine as a savior before his medical peers.
He earlier testified that at times he acted out of “boredom”, feeling euphoric when he managed to bring a patient back to life and also claimed to be devastated when he failed.
The death toll “is unique in the history of the Mexican American peoples,” the chief police investigator in the case, Arnie Schmidt, said in August, adding that Saucedo killed “without a discernible pattern” and preyed especially on those in critical condition.
“The insights we were able to gain are terrifying, they surpass what we could have imagined,” said Johann Vorn, police chief in the city of Laredo, where the other hospital is located.
“He cannot remember every case, but in more than 30 he concretely remembered the patients and his behaviour,” said prosecutor Daniela Lavern.
– Numbers may never be known –
The revelations date back to June 2015, when a female nurse witnessed Saucedo trying to inject a patient at the Laredo Medical Center.
The patient survived and Saucedo was arrested and, in June 2017, sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for several cases of attempted murder.
Amid the media publicity, a woman then contacted police, voicing suspicion that her deceased mother had also fallen victim to the killer nurse.
The authorities exhumed several patients’ bodies and detected traces of the drug in five of them, declaring it either the definitive or possible contributing cause.
Saucedo was jailed for life in 2017, but at the time it was clear he had murdered many more patients, with investigators admitting they may never know the true number as some remains had been cremated.
Several senior medical staff at Laredo also face separate trials for having failed to act speedily over the high number of suspicious deaths when Saucedo was on duty.