Woman charged in Richmond-area teen’s death is his mother; she tried to flee scene, officials allege

Cara Ullrich, 45, had warrants for her arrest, hid in tub as her son was being cared for by paramedics, prosecutor said.

Cara Ullrich

The mother of a 14-year-old boy found unresponsive Wednesday in a Richmond Township home hid in a bathtub while paramedics tried to save him before rushing him to a McHenry hospital, where he died, prosecutors said in court Friday.

Cara Ullrich, 45, is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, Class 4 felonies, and endangering the life or health of a minor, Class A misdemeanors, according to the criminal complaint filed in the McHenry County courthouse.

Ullrich is accused of possessing less than 200 grams of fentanyl and less than 15 grams of cocaine, as well as endangering two boys, ages 14 and 13, on Wednesday, according to the complaint. That was the same day her son died.

During a hearing Friday morning, McHenry County Judge Tiffany Davis revoked Ullrich’s probation on previous convictions, for which authorities said she repeatedly failed to meet with probation officers.

Ullrich refused to come into the courtroom for the hearing.

Assistant State’s Attorney Tyler Mikan told the judge that police found baggies with powdery substances that tested positive for cocaine and fentanyl at Ullrich’s ex-husband’s home, where her children live and where the 14-year-old was found unresponsive.

The baggies were in areas where her children could access them, including in her sons’ bedroom, the prosecutor said.

Police, who arrived at the home about 11 a.m. Wednesday, also found supplies for intravenous drug use and cans of used and unused naloxone, a substance used to reverse the fatal effects of a heroin overdose, officials said.

On Wednesday, the teen had taken a shower and afterward told his dad that he did not feel good, Mikan said, adding that the boy laid on the couch and fell asleep.

When his dad checked on him a bit later, he was not breathing.

The father told police that his son was not known to use drugs and was a healthy kid, officials said.

Mikan said that Ullrich was hiding in a bathtub when paramedics arrived to help her son because she knew there were warrants out for her arrest. She also tried to flee from police who had to “tackle her,” Mikan said.

The prosecutor said Ullrich admitted to police that she used heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.

Special Public Defender Gran McKerlie was appointed to represent her because the McHenry County Public Defender’s Office is representing Ullrich in a juvenile case.

At a separate pretrial detention hearing Friday afternoon, Ullrich initially refused to enter the courtroom but later obliged.

Although court and jail records list Ullrich’s address as Richmond and Round Lake Beach, respectively, she told Chief Judge Michael Chmiel at the afternoon hearing that she sleeps on couches at friends’ houses.

Ullrich wept during the hearing and was given a chair to sit in while Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Miller, like Mikan earlier, detailed the charges against her, noting that her son had died.

Miller added that Ullrich told police she had bought fentanyl shortly before her most recent arrest. Miller described the case as “terribly sad” and said he believes Ullrich is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

However, because the current charges tied to her son’s death are Class 4 felonies and Class A misdemeanors, Miller could not argue that she be detained pretrial in the county jail, under the guidelines of the new state SAFE-T Act, which did away with cash bond.

Instead, the prosecutor argued for conditions upon release, including that she stay away from her ex-husband and her younger son and not consume any alcohol or illegal drugs.

Despite that, Ullrich is being held and awaiting resentencing on her past cases after her probation was revoked earlier Friday.

Separately, McHenry County Coroner Michael Rein said Friday that an autopsy on Ullrich’s son was performed the previous day. However, results are pending the outcome of a toxicology test.

“There aren’t any preliminary results at this time,” Rein said. “Everything else is under investigation at this time.”

Rein declined to disclose the boy’s name because he is a juvenile.

Ullrich is due back in court Feb. 22, and Miller said the investigation is ongoing.