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Toni Annette Medrano (pictured), the Minnesota woman who allegedly suffocated her 3-week-old infant son by sleeping on him after drinking a heavy amount of vodka last November, has died after setting herself on fire, the Pioneer Press reports.

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Medrano’s tragic suicide comes less than one month after she was torched as a horrible mother on a June 11 segment of the “Nancy Grace” show on the NLN cable news channel. As NewsOne reported on June 9, Medrano was charged with manslaughter after allegedly drinking a fifth of vodka before falling asleep on her son, subsequently smothering him to death. The show dubbed Medrano as the “Vodka Mom.”

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On July 2, she doused herself with a flammable liquid and set herself ablaze in her mother’s backyard. She was rushed to a local hospital where she died five days later. Police said she was “despondent and suicidal over personal issues.”

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Her Husband, Jason Medrano, felt the segment was cruel.

“The things people said were horrible,” he said outside his townhome Monday, July 9. “It shows that cyberbullying happens to adults, too.”

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The Pioneer Press has more on this story:

It’s happened before — with the same show.

According to ABC News, a Leesburg, Fla., mother told police in 2006 that her baby was missing. Police considered her a possible suspect. She appeared on “Nancy Grace,” where she was intensely interrogated. The woman killed herself about one week later.

Attempts on Monday to contact representatives of the show and its parent CNN were unsuccessful.

Is the show — hosted by legal commentator and former prosecutor

Nancy Ann Grace — to blame?

Not directly, said Chris Ison, professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota.

It’s impossible to know the motivations of suicidal people, so no news program can be blamed for a suicide.

Still, Ison said, such cable news/talk shows damage the reputations of journalists by addressing serious subjects in a non-serious way.

“There can be bad consequences,” Ison said. “It is troubling to track such serious topics and use them as entertainment — in a way that is sensational, mocking, accusatory and loud.

“One of the basic principles of journalism is to minimize harm, but we cause harm all the time. We have to weigh it against the value of the news presented, and shows like this one are out of balance.”

Was the show, in part, to blame for pushing Medrano over the edge?

On her show, Nancy Grace simulated the number of drinks a fifth of vodka is. (17, according to the host’s count) She also reported that Medrano had several DUIs and had a heavy drinking problem. Whether or not the show was the final emotional jolt of guilt that pushed her over the edge will never be known. (I do not think it is particularly fair to blame the show, personally)

You can take a look at the video for yourself and tell us if you feel Nancy Grace was cruel.

(Answer in the poll at the bottom of the page after viewing the video)

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Thing is, Medrano never stood trial for the crimes she was charged with. And, as horrible as her alleged acts were, we have to start thinking about why all of these mothers are recklessly harming and killing their children. If Medrano was convicted of the manslaughter charges against her, did she stand a chance of being rehabilitated? NewsOne ofter reports on bad parents and highlight their egregious behavior via social media. But should a new light be focused on mental health issues that drive parents to behave in such a way?

Medrano set herself on fire, which was possibly a slow, painful death. Did she want to feel pain over what she did? Why not just shoot herself and make it a fast, instant death. I think she wanted to suffer. In any case, her death was a very sad one and now her other children have no mother to raise them and a husband is without his wife. The Medrano family lost two lives instead of one.

As bad a mother as Medrano may have been, I feel sorry that she killed herself. She needed help. Do you agree with me?

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