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Family: TV Show Prompted Woman’s Suicide

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota family says their loved one’s treatment on national television led her to take her own life.

Earlier this summer, Nancy Grace did a segment on Toni Medrano. The Cottage Grove woman had just been accused of drinking, then passing out on her baby, suffocating him.

Grace dubbed Medrano the “Vodka Mom.”

Medrano’s husband and mother are now speaking out on what they say the show did to her.

After Medrano’s 3-week-old son, Adrian, died, she faced second-degree manslaughter charges. Her husband, Jason Medrano, said she thought the family could get through the tough time together.

“After the show it was a big spiral down,” Jason Medrano said.

He said it was the appearance on Grace’s June 11 show that changed the woman he loved, forever.

“She was like, ‘She called me a murderer,’ and it started sinking in and all the comments — it took a big toll,” he said.

Toni Medrano’s mother, Yvonne Hill, said her daughter “locked up” after the show.

She said Toni Medrano changed her hair, wore hats and sunglasses, and refused to go out in public.

Less than a month after the Nancy Grace show featured her, Medrano killed herself by lighting herself on fire in the backyard of Hill’s home.

Attorney Michael Padden says he has been in contact with lawyers representing Grace’s show.

“Like most civil cases we’ll attempt resolution. If the case doesn’t settle, then it will go into litigation; but if it doesn’t settle then it’s 100 percent guarantee that it will go into litigation,” Padden said.

The family wants people to know Toni Medrano was a good mother. She started treatment after the death of her baby, hoping to keep her other kids.

They say the start of her new life ended on national television.

“The evidence will be clear that, after she saw the show, she went into a tailspin from which she never recovered,” Padden said.

Padden says he feels this case is similar to another case that was prosecuted in Florida in 2006.

The family of Melinda Ducket claimed Grace’s words on her show led to Ducket shooting and killing herself.

Grace settled with the family.

CNN, which owns the HLN network that Grace’s show is on, said they could not comment on the Medrano case.

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