By Nicole Hegewald
Lakesha Victor lived a difficult life. In her ten short years she suffered from cerebral palsy, autism, and a seizure disorder that left her unable to speak. She spent her days in a wheelchair. Lakesha died August 20, 2006 from what autopsy reports claim is malnutrition and dehydration. She only weighed 31 lbs.
“We want to put an end to this.”
“The opinions of the medical examiner is that this girl starved, was dehydrated. That was the cause of her death,” said Chief Deputy Steve Ovick of the Pine County Sheriff’s Office.
Ludusky Sue Hotchkiss, 29, Lakesha’s mother, was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in August, three years after her death. There were four other children living with Hotchkiss at the time Lakesha died. They are now in foster care. Hotchkiss voluntarily gave up all of her parental rights.
Ti-Heim Darrien Coston, 33, was working for Brighter Day Inc. He was Lakesha’s primary caregiver. He allegedly conspired with Hotchkiss to falsify his own time sheets. They defrauded the Minnesota Medical Assistance program of thousands of dollars. It is believed that they were involved in a romantic relationship.
“These two [stole] $48,000 from the state of Minnesota while her daughter just withered away and died,” said Chief Deputy Steve Ovick of the Pine County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s horrible.”
Coston had been charged with criminal neglect, five counts of theft, and failure to report neglect. On top of the fraud the two neglected to bring Lakesha to physical and occupational therapy. Coston was charged in August but Ovick said authorities tried to keep that fact quiet as to prevent scaring him deeper into hiding. Coston has a history of theft by swindle, along with three outstanding warrants.
“We want to put an end to this,” he said. “We still haven’t got him in custody, and we are asking the public if you’ve seen this guy, give us a call. We want to get him in jail.”
Authorities said that this case was a “very lengthy, involved investigation” to explain the elapse of time that led up to the charges. It took nearly a year before the evidence was forwarded to prosecutors, according to Ovick.