HOUSTON -- A northwest Harris County woman who worked as a pediatric nurse is accused of poisoning her daughter by repeatedly giving her an overdose of salt.
Katie Alice Ripstra, 31, has been charged with injury to a child /serious bodily injury.
Evidence indicates that physical abuse of the now 4-year-old girl started in 2011, Lt. Ruben Diaz of the Harris County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Bureau said.
Investigators said they don’t think Ripstra hurt other children, but for years she would harm her own toddler and then take her to Texas Children’s Hospital, where she worked, for treatments and surgeries.
In one treatment visit in 2013 the child was unconscious and had suffered a brain injury as a result of the unusually high level of salt in her body, Diaz said. The child recovered after treatment that included three days in an intensive care unit. It was one of the child's four or more stays in that hospital in 2013.
One procedure was to install a feeding tube and another was to install a central line into the child’s vein. Authorities said Ripstra used those lines to shoot her daughter full of salt.
"I have children of my own. I have grandchildren of my own. It's horrible," Diaz said. "We expect parents to be the safeguards of their children."
Children’s Protective Services placed Ripstra’s daughter with a family friend. She has some brain damage and vein problems.
Ripstra was fired from Texas Children’s Hospital. She is out of jail on $30,000 bond. Her next court date is May 20th.