Woman charged in death of 14-month-old son appears in court

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- 36-year-old Nora Zylstra, the woman charged in connection to the death of her 14-month-old son, was in court Friday, March 21st for her preliminary hearing. She waived her right to that hearing, and the judge accepted it, setting an arraignment for April 7th.

Zylstra is facing one count of first-degree intentional homicide.

14-month-old Leonidas Fisher was found dead inside a home near 76th and Morgan Ave. on Sunday afternoon.

According to the criminal complaint, Zylstra suffocated the boy with a pillow before she attempted to take her own life by ingesting pills and then getting into the bathtub with a toaster.

The complaint indicates that Zylstra began to contemplate killing her son and herself on March 9th after the baby’s father refused to get back together.

Her son's father reportedly broke off his relationship with Zylstra in February.

The complaint indicates the baby's father received a text message from Zylstra around 5:30 a.m. on March 9th that stated the house key was under the back mat, and for him to come over. At that time, he told police he became suspicious and began texting Zylstra — but she never responded.

The baby’s father then called police — which led them to perform a welfare check.

When police arrived on scene, they found four envelopes addressed to family members of Zylstra. Officers then heard  moaning, and found Zylstra lying on a bed in her bedroom. Pills were located in her vicinity.

Police then went to the second bedroom in the home and observed 14-month-old Leonidas Fisher unconscious and not breathing in a crib, according to the complaint.

The complaint indicates that Zylstra told police she wanted to reconcile with the baby’s father because she did not want their son to deal with the pain and suffering of growing up in a broken home. However, when the father refused to reconcile, she began to think about her responsibilities and bills.

Zylstra told police that she then began Googling ways to die — claiming that she thought it was the best solution. Shortly after, she began to write goodbye letters to her mom, brother and the baby’s father.

According to the criminal complaint, Zylstra took several Percocet, Atenolol and Zanaz before placing a blanket and pillow over Fisher’s face. After Fisher stopped moving, Zylstra then got into a bathtub with a toaster in an effort to kill herself, but it didn’t work.

If convicted, Zylstra could face life in prison.

Friday, the boy's father was in court along with other family members. All declined to comment.