BOLIVAR, Mo. — The sister of a southwestern Missouri woman who authorities allege confessed to killing her 19-year-old blind and autistic son says three other people are the real culprits.
Kimberly Lightwine is charged in Polk County with second-degree murder and elder abuse in connection with the death last month of Austin Anderson. Investigators say the 42-year-old woman confessed after she was found face-down and half naked in a field near to her dead son, saying she tried to abandon severely disabled Anderson to the care of God and that “I killed my kid.”
But Lightwine’s sister, Stephanie Saloga, told the Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/2bYYjSd ) that Lightwine has insisted to her that she was lured with Anderson from their Bolivar apartment. Three men then abducted them and drugged Lightwine, then beat Lightwine, breaking her leg, before leaving her for dead with her son, Saloga said her sister has told her.
Messages left with Lightwine’s public defender and Polk County investigators haven’t been returned.
Investigators believe Anderson, who was incapable of tending to himself and was described by his father as having the cognitive abilities of an elementary school student, died from dehydration and the lack of hydrocortisone for an adrenal gland issue.
In a probable cause statement that accompanied the criminal complaint against Lightwine, Polk County sheriff’s Detective Billy Simpson wrote that Lightwine told him she took her son to a stranger’s field near Morrisville while high on methamphetamine.
“I heard Kimberly Lightwine state multiple times that she and God brought her baby into this world and that she had to help God take him out,” Simpson wrote.
“I’m a terrible mother, I got high, and I got depressed, and I think I am going to throw up. I killed my kid, I killed my kid, I killed my kid. I don’t know why I did,” Lightwine said, according to Simpson.
The detective wrote that Lightwine recalled telling her son to “get out of the car and go reach for help.”
“Put your hands in front of you for help and God is going to take care of you,” Simpson quoted Lightwine as saying.
According to the statement, Lightwine said her son had trouble walking but kept coming back “and wanting his mommy” while he repeatedly said, “I want to go home, mommy.” Lightwine said she would push him away and tell him: “No, you don’t want to love me. Please let God take you.”
But Saloga told the Springfield newspaper that Lightwine, who she acknowledged has a history of drug use, made those statements while she was recovering from being drugged.
“When she made the comment that she killed her son, she was meaning that she wasn’t able to get up off the ground to care for him and attend to his needs,” Saloga said. “Anybody who knows my sister knows that she loves that boy more than life itself. She would never, ever hurt him.”
Saloga said Lightwine knows the people who abducted her, although the motivation is unclear. Court and investigating records make no mention of any suspects other than Lightwine.
Anderson’s aunt, Diana Cope, also believes Lightwine didn’t kill her son.
“We believe there’s more to the story,” Cope said. “We hope they don’t stop looking for whoever really did it.
“In her right mind she would never harm him — never. Never in a million years.”