AP NEWS

Mom admits neglect in daughter’s death

March 22, 2019

A New Haven woman who pleaded guilty to neglect charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter will serve three years behind bars if a judge accepts a plea agreement.

Crystal M. Belcher, 29, pleaded guilty this morning in Allen Superior Court to two counts of neglect of a dependent in the death of Jocelyn “JoJo” Belcher, who was found dead Jan. 27 in the family’s home.

An autopsy revealed a hemorrhage in the girl’s neck, and the Allen County coroner said the cause of death was neck compression. The toddler also had injuries -- such as forearm fractures that had healed -- that were consistent with abuse, court documents said.

As part of a plea deal, Belcher would serve three years of a 12-year sentence behind bars. Nine years of the sentence would be suspended and she would be placed on probation for five years.

A third count of neglect of a dependent would be dismissed when Belcher is sentenced.

Shane Patton, 31, faces three neglect counts in the child’s death. Patton is scheduled to stand trial in late July.