Weatherford Democrat

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March 22, 2013

Woman sentenced to 15 years prison in severe child injury case

Defendant had history of child abuse, neglect complaints and investigations, officials say

FROM STAFF REPORTS

A 38-year-old Weatherford woman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison today for recklessly allowing her baby to become overheated in July 2011, resulting in severe brain damage to the child.

Misty Leann Plyler, also known as Misty Leeann Coleman, pleaded guilty to recklessly causing serious bodily injury to a child in district court in Weatherford on March 15 with the sentencing taking place today pursuant to a plea agreement. Plyler faced a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.

The child was just 5 months old at the time of the incident.

“We know that the victim was with her mother, but we don’t know exactly how the injuries occurred,” said Assistant District Attorney Nikki Morton, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney Robert DuBoise. “What we do know is that when her mother finally brought her to the hospital, her temperature was 107.5 degrees, that she was non-responsive and having seizures. The doctors said Plyler’s version of events did not seem consistent with the child’s symptoms, which were more consistent with having been left in a hot car.”

Plyler’s statements to Parker County sheriff’s investigators about where she was and what she was doing during the hours leading up to the emergency room trip were also not consistent with statements by other witnesses and phone records, Morton said. Drug abuse is believed to be tied to the situation based upon drug testing done on Plyler within weeks of the incident.

The child is physically and mentally delayed due to the brain injury she suffered as a result of the heatstroke, Morton said.

“She is fed through a feeding tube and she cannot sit up or hold her head up on her own for more than just a few seconds. The little girl cannot speak or crawl and, for all intents and purposes, is blind,” Morton said.

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