Mother says she wrestles with guilt over baby's death

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- Sherri Lohnstein is seeking treatment while she wrestles with guilt and finds God, the 34-year-old told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in her first interview since being convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the death of her baby.

Lohnstein's baby died from alcohol poisoning minutes after birth Sept. 9, 2006.

Lohnstein, of Lincoln County, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years in prison. If Lohnstein successfully completes a 120-day substance abuse treatment program, a judge could place her on probation instead.

"I feel so bad," she said. "And there's nothing the courthouse can do to top what I do to myself every day. Nothing."

Lohnstein said she has spent the time in her cell reading her Bible and that she found God before she went to jail.

"I went and asked the Lord for forgiveness," she said. "I never thought that he would be able to forgive me for losing my child because of my stupidity. I thought it was going to be something I would have to face further down the line."

She said that she isn't sure she'll ever be able to forgive herself.

Police reports say her baby, Zreanna was born at 29 weeks with a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 percent. The baby died 26 minutes later. Lohnstein's blood-alcohol content was 0.18. In Missouri, a driver is considered legally drunk at 0.08 percent.

"You know, I wanted that little girl more than anything to make it, to be OK," Lohnstein said, sobbing. "She was so beautiful."

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