Woman who slashed Boise child in 1995 released from Pocatello prison

jsowell@idahostatesman.comFebruary 21, 2014 

Rae Ann Leach

Rae Ann Leach, 70, was released Friday, four months early after receiving a medical parole from the Pocatello Woman's Correctional Center.

Leach had been scheduled for release June 27, but the four members of the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole, which has one vacancy, voted last month to allow her to leave prison early. As part of her parole, Leach was required to develop a plan that ensures the community is protected from her. The plan had to be approved by officials in Oregon, where Leach plans to live with her husband.

Dave Leach moved to the town of Sisters, northwest of Bend, sometime after his wife's last appearance before the parole board two years ago.

Leach slashed the throat of a neighbor girl, 20-month-old Mary Hickerson, during a psychotic episode on July 10, 1995. She had invited members of the Hickerson family to feed some squirrels in her yard and took young Mary into her home in the 700 block of Ranch Road in Boise's North End for a treat.

She exited the house carrying a bleeding Mary, who was seriously injured in the attack. The girl lost half of her blood and nearly died. Other neighbors were alerted when Anne Hickerson saw her bloody daughter and began screaming.

The attack took place after Leach's doctor had taken her off her medication.

Mary Hickerson recovered from her injuries and is now an adult.

Leach had pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and was originally given probation, but was placed on a strict supervision plan that required 24-hour monitoring. She was sent to prison in 1999 after she was seen by herself twice at the YMCA and walking unaccompanied through her neighborhood.

Leach has suffered from mood and thought disorders, including schizophrenia and manic depression. She has taken lithium, Prozac and an antipsychotic medication.

She told the parole board in 2012 that the medications were working and that she hadn't heard any voices — like the one that told her to hurt Mary in 1995 — or had any hallucinations since 2006.

"I'm committed to my medications for life, " Leach said at the 2012 hearing.

John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell

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