Greek mother Roula Pispirigkou whose three children all died in suspicious medical circumstances over the last three years was brought before an Athens examining magistrate on Thursday following her arrest in the city of Patras on Wednesday on murder charges.
She requested and received an extension to testify and was transferred back to the Attica General Police headquarters in Athens, where she will be detained until her testimony.
The order to prosecute the 33-year-old woman came from an Athens prosecutor who charged her with the premeditated murder of her eldest daughter, Georgina, aged nine.
Toxicological and histological tests revealed ketamine – reportedly not prescribed by any doctor – in the nine-year-old, who died in January 2022.
In Patras, a first instance court prosecutor had asked that she be arrested on grounds that she is likely to commit further offenses.
The woman was taken to the Attica General Police Directorate’s homicide division on Wednesday evening.
Greek mother investigated for deaths of all three children
Georgina’s death in 2022 had been preceded by those of her six-month-old sister, Iris, in 2021 and of her 3.5-year-old sister Malena in 2019 and sparked the start of investigations into the cause of death of all three children which had baffled doctors.
According to media reports, a full medical report on the causes of death of all three children is expected later on Thursday.
The case has attracted widespread public interest, as it appears to be the first case of its kind in recent history.
The Athens News Agency reports that the police report sent to the public prosecutor regarding Georgina’s death notes that the young girl had consumed a lethal amount of ketamine which caused her death within 20 minutes of consumption. She was alone with her mother at the time.
Furthermore, according to the report, no doctor or nurse had visited the child for the whole hour before symptoms of poisoning appeared. There is also no note in Georgina’s medical file of any ketamine having either been prescribed or administered to the nine-year-old.
The police have requested medical files from all hospitals where Georgina had been treated. Police also interviewed both medical personnel who came into contact with the patient and the coroner who determined that Georgina’s death was due to “lethal poisoning by a pharmaceutical substance.”
“Specifically, from the post-mortem toxicological exams, the presence of the pharmaceutical substance ‘ketamine’ was detected in toxic-lethal quantities in her blood. With respect to the precise time of death upon administration of ketamine, this depends on various factors and mainly the method of administration,” the police report states.
The report further explains that: “The time period varies between a few seconds and 20 minutes, depending on the method used. From our service’s investigation, it transpired that the only person in the room with Georgina in the last 20 minutes of her life before the side effects of the drug appeared was her mother,” the police report said.