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Lawyer: Seabrook mom who fed kids bleach is mentally ill

Union Leader Correspondent

July 17. 2013 9:32PM

BRENTWOOD — A Seabrook mother who was jailed Wednesday on charges she forced her two young children to drink bleach last month suffered from "undertreated and perhaps undiagnosed mental illness," her lawyer said on Wednesday.

Wendy Wright, 33, 15 True Road, was arraigned from the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood on two counts of attempted first-degree assault for allegedly trying to poison her children, ages 6 and 7.

Seabrook Detective Scott Mendes, the police prosecutor, said charges in the case could be upgraded to attempted murder, but that decision would be left to county prosecutors who are expected to review the case.

"There's always that possibility that the County Attorney's Office could increase the charges," Mendes said in an interview following the hearing. "The county attorney could decrease the charges, but in this circumstance there is that possibility they could be increased."

Video -- Seabrook Police Prosecutor Scott Mendes on the Wendy Wright arraignment:

Judge Michael Sullivan heard arguments for bail on Wednesday via video arraignment and set bail at $200,000 cash.

Wright could be heard weeping at times during the hearing. A pair of women who identified themselves as Wright's sister and mother declined to speak to reporters following the hearing.

Seabrook police were called to Wright's home on June 18 in response to a 911 call, and found her unconscious.

Police believe the children likely suffered from burns in their throat and other internal injuries.

"I think she certainly presents a danger to herself due the circumstances," Mendes said. "When police arrived there they found her in a really unresponsive medical condition."

Mendes said the children are recovering and living elsewhere, but declined to give further details about their medical condition or whereabouts.

He argued for Wright to be held on $500,000 cash bail on each of the two charges He also asked that she have no contact with her children, or their biological father.

Public defender Anthony Naro, who sat alongside Wright at the jail, said such high bail was unreachable for his client and family, calling it essentially a no-bail hold.

"This case comes down to mental illness. Undertreated and perhaps undiagnosed mental illness," Naro said.

Naro asked for a $1,000 cash bail to be set for Wright, arguing that jail would only derail her from much needed mental health treatment.

Wright underwent mental health treatment at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for three weeks following the event at her home, according to Naro.

Naro called upon Judge Sullivan to dismiss the charges, saying they were defective due to the wording in the documents.

He described his client as a lifelong resident of Rockingham County with strong family ties to the area.

Wright was enrolled as a student and taking classes at the time of the incident, Naro said. She also has a third child, who was not at the home at the time of the incident.

If Wright is freed on bail, she would live with her mother and stepfather in Raymond.

Affidavits related to Wright's arrest remained sealed on Wednesday.

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