Entangled in custody drama, woman tries to kill young granddaughter and herself with sedatives

A New York grandmother convicted of trying to kill her 7-year-old granddaughter last October learned her fate this week.

Stephany Ruckdeschel, 54, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, Ruckdeschel was mired in a custody battle when she attempted to give the girl and herself a lethal dose of the sedative Zolpidem.

Rochester Fire and Police Departments, in addition to AMR Rochester medical personnel, responded to Rochester home and successfully revived both of them, WHAM reported. A previous article by the Democrat & Chronicle stated that Senior Assistant District Attorney Amanda Balling praised first responders, saying their “swift and skilled response saved a child’s life.

“She survived and she is moving on from this,” Balling said of the 7-year-old.

According to the newspaper, Balling said Ruckdeschel left behind suicide notes—one of which told the girl’s father “if I can’t have her you can’t either.”

“With Stephany Ruckdeschel’s admission of guilt, the young victim and the rest of her family can start to move on from this incredibly traumatic event,” the prosecutor said in a recent statement.

“By pleading guilty to the attempted murder of her granddaughter, the child will not have to go through the difficult process of testifying against her grandmother in court…It is the hope of the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office that the victim can continue to heal from this emotionally and physically disturbing incident now that the defendant is behind bars.”

After serving her 12-year sentence, WROC reported that the New York grandmother will serve five years of post-release supervision. State Supreme Court Justice Alex Renzi also ordered her to have no contact with her granddaughter.


[Featured Image: Stephany Ruckdeschel/Monroe County Sheriff’s Office]