Sitter takes plea in baby’s accidental death

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

JASPER — A Huntingburg woman criminally charged after a 2-month-old baby died in her care while she was babysitting late last year has been sentenced as part of a plea agreement.

Childree

Rachelle N. Childree, 27, 217 N. Arjem St., Huntingburg, pleaded guilty to a Level 3 felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury on Sept. 28 in Dubois Circuit Court.

The case had been scheduled for jury trial Sept. 26 but that trial was vacated Aug. 31 after a motion from Childree’s counsel.

The net effect of the written plea agreement accepted by the court finds Childree placed on supervised probation.

The terms were reached after the victim’s family requested Childree not have to serve any additional jail time.

Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Hillenburg said the victim’s family expressed that they did not want Childree’s children to be without a mother.

Pursuant to the agreement, Childree was sentenced to seven years in the Indiana Department of Correction with credit for time served between Feb. 2 and Sept. 28 of this year and good time credit, with the remainder of the sentence suspended to supervised probation.

Some of the conditions of that probation include getting mental health and substance abuse evaluations, satisfactorily completing any recommended treatment, having no contact with the victims, paying restitution in the amount of $2,011.65 to the victims and not babysitting for anyone’s children while on probation.

The restitution amount is for burial expenses and a tombstone, according to Hillenburg.

Also, pursuant to the plea agreement, a Level 1 felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death that was originally filed in the case was dismissed.

Childree was arrested in February after police determined a 2-month-old died in her care in November 2016.

Authorities said that on Nov. 29 at around 2:56 p.m., Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services, Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department first responders and the Huntingburg Police Department were called to Childree’s Arjem Street home in reference to a child who was unresponsive.

The infant was 2-month-old Marley Jean Beatty, the daughter of Alexandra and Harry Beatty Jr. of Paoli.

Childree, who was watching the infant, is alleged to have told police she put the baby down for a nap after feeding her around 10 or 11 a.m. in her daughter’s room. When Childree came back into the room to check on the baby, according to court documents, the infant was face down on the bed and was blue in the face.

She is reported to have called 911 at 2:55 p.m.

After her arrest in the neglect case, Childree posted bond and was placed on adult day reporting.

Childree was re-arrested in August on a Dubois Superior Court warrant charging her with theft. Court documents in that case alleged she took a Toro Personal Pace 22-inch lawn mower from a Jasper resident’s property in the 1300 block of Main Street in Jasper on July 13. A prior conviction for theft within the last five years found that theft case, which was investigated by the Jasper Police Department, enhanced to a Level 6 felony.

In another plea agreement in Dubois Superior Court, Childree pleaded guilty to the Level 6 felony theft with judgment of conviction entered as a misdemeanor. Pursuant to that agreement, she was sentenced to two days in the Dubois County Security Center but, because of the credit she received for having been lodged in the security center, that sentence was already complete.

Childree had to pay fines and court costs in both cases.




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