Idaho infant attacker paroled, plans move to Sisters

Has said she no longer hallucinates, hears voices

BEND, Ore. - A 70-year-old Idaho woman who slashed the throat of a neighbor's infant daughter nearly 20 years ago was paroled from prison Thursday, and NewsChannel 21 has learned she plans to live in Sisters with her husband.

Rae Ann Leach has been behind bars since 1999, four years after she attaked a neighbor's 20-month-old daughter who lived next door in Boise, nearly killing her.

The Associated Press reported Leach pleaded guilty to aggravated battery at the time and at first was placed on probation. She was sent to prison after violating the terms of her probation.

Roger Bourney, the Ada County prosecutor on the case, said Thursday that Leach had been denied parole in the past because she was deemed dangerous and had violent thoughts. She suffers from mood and thought disorders, including schizophrenia and manic depression.

Leach already was scheduled to be released in June, but Thursday's parole means she'll be under strict supervision between now and then.

Two years ago, the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole denied Leach's request for early release after tearful testimony from the victim, Mary Hickerson, who argued there was no guarantee Leach would follow a medical plan to keep her mental illness under control.

"Every morning, I wake up and see my scars," said the then-18-year-old. "I have not had a single day go by where I have not been reminded of what happened."

But Leach told the parole board in 2012 she had not heard any voices or had any hallucinations since 2006 and was dedicated to taking her medications.

"I'm here. I'm well. I'm safe," she said. "I haven't heard a voice for years. I'm ready to go out to the world and live."

Her husband said at the time he'd arranged to hire a medical professional to be with her when he could not, and pledged to ensure she followed her treatment plan.

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