St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on October 20, 1991 · Page 33
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 33

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 20, 1991
Page 33
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SUNDAY. OCTOBER 20. 1991 ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Stallings From page one who would say that the child had the disease and he died of it," Rathbone said. "That's what I understood from the judge; now maybe I didn't understand him correctly." New Tests The first soft spots in Jefferson County's case against Stallings began tb show as early as April 1990, a full nine months before her trial. News accounts that month were reporting that David Jr., born on Feb. 17, had tested positive for MMA. Dr. Christopher Long, head of St. Louis University's toxicology laboratory and one of those who previously had found ethylene glycol in Ryan's blood, agreed to turn over a tiny bit of the fluid to Dr James Shoemaker, who had just set up a genetic disorder testing laboratory at the university. Shoemaker said he received about one-tenth of a teaspoon of Ryan's blood. ' Using a test designed to detect MMA in urine, Shoemaker discovered on April 21, 1990, that Ryan Stallings, in all likelihood, suffered from MMA. While he also found what he believed to be a trace of ethylene glycol in the blood, Shoemaker said It would not have been in high enough concentrations to have killed the boy. - Shoemaker reported his findings to Cong, and a meeting was held among some of the university's senior staff. Most agreed that Ryan likely had MMA, but that it was not the disease that had killed him. They believed that much of the ethylene glycol that had been noted in the child's blood in earlier tests had dissipated during storage. They still felt Ryan had been poisoned. I The next January, shortly before the trial, Shoemaker said, he received a phone call from the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney's office. It was the first time he had reported his findings to them. ,"I thought, 'Here's a very rare case where a child with a genetic disease also could have been poisoned,' and I said as much to the prosecutor's office," Shoemaker said. : McElroy said Shoemaker's findings were relayed to Rathbone. But Rath-bpne contends that had he known that STALLINGS CASE FOLLOWING is a chronology of events in the Patricia Stallings ; case: -: April 4,. 1989: Ryan Stallings born at St. Mary's Health Center in ; Richmond Heights. r. July 9, 1989: Ryan becomes acutely 111. Patricia Stallings drives .-child to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. July 12, 1989: After laboratory findings of ethylene glycol in Ryan's blood, affidavit is signed by . physician at hospital suggesting that Ryan was poisoned. Child : placed in protective custody. - July 17, 1989: Ryan is discharged. Placed in foster home. : Sept 4, 1989: Ryan is hospitalized a second time; diagnosis is .ethylene glycol poisoning. Prose-' Tutors allege that Patricia Stallings Jiad poisoned the baby four days pearlier by feeding him antifreeze -from a baby bottle during a visit at .the Division of Family Services offices in Hillsboro. - Sept 5, 1989: Stallings is arrested at her home and charged with assault. Sept 7, 1989: Ryan dies. Stallings iharged with his murder. ' Feb. 17, 1990: Stallings gives "birth to David Stallings Jr., who is later diagnosed at Children's Hospital as suffering from a rare ge-iietic disorder, methylmalonic acidemia, or MMA. That diagnosis Custom Decorating JCPenney ' '11 I ' HOME FOR ' I, Y, THE HOLIDAYS . : !fff V SAVE 30-40 : Am ilfifi?! : SAVE 40 on fabrics from ; If J. I'll l U .our European Collection. Vi " ' SAVE30-40on ! Mji -p I additional selected fabrics. 1 Our Custom Decorating Services f include: . Draperies Top Treatments ''!" ' Bedspreads fC- Horizontal & Vertical Blinds :, -V: Pleated & Roller Shades ", Carpeting & Custom Area Rugs - , Sale ends Sl.. October 2. ' I ,1)'. r J - ! : J ?, k- -' . Regular price are offering prices only. Sales may or may not have bean made at regular prices. Sale prices do not apply to everyday-priced merchandise. Most areas serviceable by JCPenney Custom Decorating. South County . 487-2500 Grandvlew Plaza Florissant 838-3384 Northwest Plaza Shoemaker found only a trace amount of ethylene glycol in Ryan's blood, he would have pursued it Rathbone said he never contacted Shoemaker; he said he didn't need another witness saying that Ryan probably was poisoned. Despite all of the local newspaper and television reports of the Stallings case, it was a May 8 national showing of the television program "Unsolved Mysteries" that marked the beginning of the end of Patricia Stallings' long ordeal. Dr. William S. Sly, professor and chairman of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at St Louis University, was watching the program and realized that no other tests were being performed on Ryan Stallings' blood. In late June, after additional tests by Shoemaker, Sly wrote a letter to a university official. The letter was relayed to McElroy. In the letter. Sly said Shoemaker reached three conclusions: He confirmed the absence of ethylene glycol at the time the tests were done in samples taken from Ryan before his death. He confirmed abnormal elevations of organic acids in Ryan's serum "that make the diagnosis of MMA vir-tully certain." He found that one of the compounds that had been elevated by Ryan's disease could be confused with ethylene glycol, "at least by older gas chromatographic techniques." Shoemaker and Sly have said that they believe any traces of ethylene glycol found in some of Shoemaker's tests were simply contamination that might have been caused in the process of sterilizing equipment used to draw blood for the tests. Similar traces of ethylene glycol were found in tests run on patients who had not been poisoned, they said. McElroy said that while he was intrigued by Shoemaker's findings, he still wasn't sold that Patricia Stallings might be innocent. It wasn't until McElroy met with Dr. Piero Rinaldo, a young, world-renowned genetics expert from Yale University, that he realized that Ryan likely had died of MMA and not antifreeze poisoning. That meeting, involving McElroy, Rinaldo, Ritter and registered nurse Judy Stinson, who works in Ritter's law firm, took place in Ritter's downtown St. Louis law offices. "I met with Rinaldo, questioned him for an entire day," said McElroy. CHRONOLOGY raises new questions about Ryan's death. April 2, 1990: Stallings is released from jail in light of new evidence. April 21, 1990: Dr. James Shoemaker determines that Ryan likely suffered from MMA, but says it is still possible child died of ethylene glycol poisoning. Jan. 31, 1991: Stallings, 26, convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her son. March 4, 1991: Stallings sentenced to life in prison. June 28, 1991: Dr. William S. Sly writes letter to executive associate vice president of St. Louis University, saying further tests show Ryan died of MMA and no ethylene glycol was found in baby's blood. July 29, 1991: Jefferson County Circuit Judge Gary P. Kramer grants Stallings a new trial, citing ineffective defense. She is released from jail on bond next day. Sept 19, 1991: Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney George McElroy meets with Dr. Piero Rinaldo, Yale University authority on genetic diseases, and Rinaldo convinces McElroy that Ryan died of MMA. Sept. 20, 1991: McElroy drops charges against Stallings in Ryan's death; prosecutor says he now believes Ryan died of MMA. Portfolio Interiors Clayton at Woods Mill Roads 256-9145 Springfield (217) 787-7072 Portfolio Interiors ! f George B. McElroy Gary "We went back over all the raw data. The bottom line is that the experts' conclusions were not supported bv the data." Earlier this month. In a telephone interview from his Yale office, Rinaldo was highly critical of the test results generated by SmithKline and St. Louis University that had found high concentrations of ethylene glycol in Ryan's blood. The quality of the tests, Rinaldo said, was "totally unacceptable." They were, he said, "unbelievable; out of this world." "I was astonished," Rinaldo said. "I couldn't believe that somebody would let this go through a criminal trial unchallenged." In independent tests, Rinaldo said, he found no evidence of ethylene glycol in Ryan's blood. He also said he could find no evidence in test results done on the baby bottle that any ethylene glycol had been found there. Even further, Rinaldo said Cardinal Glen-non's treatment of Ryan's treatment that included fasting and use of ethanol to limit the effects of ethylene glycol poisoning were inappropriate for a child with MMA. EDP Professionals MEET WITH 15 OF THE AREA'S TOP EMPLOYERS! ALL AT ONE TIME. ALL AT ONE LOCATION. If you're an experienced EDP Professional interested in discovering the abundance of opportunities available to you, see The Alliance Program ad in today's classified section! I ALLIANCE " P R O Equal Opportunity Employers STIR OP THE COME HOME TO JUL err mlj 11th & Locust St. Buy 1 Pasta, Buy Any Full Order Of Pasta And Receive One Free Order Of Pasta (Of Equal Or Lesser Value With This Cuup'ini Valid Sunday thru Thursday ST. CHARLES CLUB RIVERPORT MIDTOWN 1600 Heritage Landing 13729 3818 at Hwy. 94 Riverport Drive Laclede 926-2267 'Banquet facilities Available 298-1515 VALID AFTER 5PM (Not valid with any other promotion or for r Lr i "rOiJuJJUCJ ft M . 555S. normal retail Most repairs 7225 Watson Rd. Next to Dierbergs "rpi State Ucensed E.L. JJ i rnmm, i mm P. Kramer Eric Rathbone In their wrongful death suit, the Stallingses maintain that the misdiagnosis resulted in improper treatment that led to Ryan's death. Despite Rinaldo's conclusion that Ryan was not poisoned, McElroy had one lingering question. How, he asked, could Rinaldo explain the crystals found in Ryan's autopsy crystals similar to the type found in ethylene glycol poisoning? Rinaldo said there was a high likelihood the crystallization had come as a direct result of the ethanol drip used in the hospital to treat Ryan's suspected ethylene glycol poisoning. "Dr. Rinaldo was very persuasive," McElroy said. "I was persuaded that she just didn't do it. In my mind, Ryan was not poisoned. My charge, as a prosecutor, is to seek justice, and I think justice required a dismissal." "A Lot To Catch Up On" A month after the charges were dropped against Patricia Stallings, there has been no move to change the cause of death on Ryan's death certifi- G R A M SPIRITS AND cJw9Mn HALLOWEEN PARTY SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26TH 4:30-7:30 PM FACE PAINTING MIME ARTIST GAMES & PRIZES COMPLIMENTARY WITCHES BREW & CAKE PRIZES FOR BEST COSTUMES (JUDGING AT 6:30 PM) SPECIAL KIDDIE MENU $2.95 MAGICIAN " 436-0840 I I I I I Get 1 Free! I SOUTH 12466 Tesson Ferry 534-7878 849-4443 carry - outs. Gratuities and sales tax not included amines and sales tax not incluueui I I I I I I 1 feff I I I plus-FREE HEARING TEST WITH THIS COUPON of $G00-$1,000. I I I while-u-wait OFFER VALID -1 200 THRU OCT- 31 cJJ COypoN10 20 h,- ... i William S. Sly cate. The certificate continues to read homicide by ethylene glycol poisoning. Burch, the deputy chief medical examiner who performed the autopsy and testified at Stallings' trial, said, "I signed the autopsy report; I have seen nothing to change my opinion." Burch said he had worked with Dr. Long many times, and "I have never known him to make a mistake. "There is no reason for him to say that ethylene glycol is present when it's not. He does not find something when it's not there." Burch said he also vehemently disagrees with Rinaldo's claim that the tests on Ryan's blood samples were flawed. "Until I see a toxicology report, I will not seriously consider his report." "As far as I'm concerned, the child was poisoned to death," Burch said. "The tests were modern, up-to-date tests. The diagnosis was fairly NEW LOCATION NEW LOCATION INTERSTATE BLOOD BANK, INC,: 5121 DELMAR BLVD: Phone: 367-5200 Cash Paid - Blood Donor Center now open at j 5121 DELMAR; formerly located at 1 2 1 2 Washington. . DONORS URGENTLY NEEDED! A 1 1945 Manchester Road 965-3088 One Mile East of Hwy. 270. Schnucks Market Complex OCTOBER DINNER SPECIALS y Tuesday October Nitely 4 Grilled Liver - topped with bacon & grilled onions. Served with baked potato and vegetable medley. Braised Beef Tips. Served over noodles. Fresh Catfish Fillet. Sauteed or deep fried. Served with seasoned rice and vegetable medley. The above specials include: A bottomless cup of Soup du Jour or bottomless bowl of Caesar or Chef's Italian Salad served to Draft beer and NOT VALID WITH $ OO REFUND OFFER BY MAIL when you buy one package (containing 26 or more diapers) of Luvs Deluxe OR Pampers Phases. Offer expires Nov. 30, 1 991 . Limit jfe $n oo Hampers' when you buy one package (containing 26 or more diapers) of Luvs Deluxe OJ Pampers Phases. Offer expires November 30, 1991. Limit one S4 00 refund per name or address. MAIL-IN CERTIFICATE (Not payable at the retail store) LUVS DELUXE OR PAMPERS PHASES $4.00 REFUND OFFER Enclosed is the Universal Product Code (UPC) symbol from one package (containing 26 or mom diapers) of Luvs Deluxe Off Pampers Phases and tins required certiticaie Please mall my $4 00 refund to: NAME: (Please onnt clearly proper STATE: OFFER EXPIRES NOVEMBER 30, 1991 rnc.inInnipitM Luvs Deluxe OJJ Pampers Phases $4 00 Rehmd Otter (UM.ultldwlpMUg)MitfmHta: PO Box5125 Clinlon. IA 52736 luw Omum OjrnMfsFMMS4 0O fWwid OMn Cvtd. lean idMtiMnvHM UNO gl PLEASE NOTE THESE ADDITIONAL TERMS: 1. Orlor goor) in U S A 2 THIS CERTIFICATE MA NOT BE MECHANICALLY REPRODUCED AND MUST ACCOMPANY YOUR REFUND REQUEST. 3 Your otter rights may nol be assigned or translated. definitive." In a prepared statement, adminiS trators at Cardinal Glennon said that "blood drawn at Cardinal Glennon fat use in diagnosing the child's illness was analyzed by two outside, higlflyi reputable laboratories. '! "The care provided to the patient Cardinal Glennon was based on thos test results." 1 .1 St. Louis University, which peri" formed laboratory tests in the Stal ings case, has declined comment br( the case. Tobey Dichter, a spokeswoman for' SmithKline, said the laboratory ha$ 'a policy of not commenting on pending litigation "in fairness to all parties.! Meanwhile, Patricia and Davff Stallings say they are still trying-to cope with the death of one son ah with the disease that threatens the life; of another son. They have been toltf his disease will be difficult to managed It will be a long, hard struggle, the' say. ":j The family recently brought David! Jr. home from Children's Hospital; hi's room is the nursery that had beerf decorated for Ryan. ' 1 we ve gone through so gone through so much,. there's really no use In being angryjj David Stallings said. "It doesn't do, anything but cause trouble. . "I want the public to know whlaf, really happened. It's like a mission (or me, to assure that other families don't have to go through what we werft through." "We have a lot of things we need t'K do," said Patricia Stallings. "A lot'cjf! things we need to catch up on." r 1 thru October 31 Wt p.m. to close .01 'II KM $C95 i .7 your table. cocktails available. ANY OTHER DISCOUNTS. .vT Mi i one $4.00 refund per name or address. gg OFFER BY MAIL delivery depends on a complete and correct address ir coot: $695 m f Pampers Kim ' CEl Tb 1 (l "J V

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