Mother Gets 1 Year In Prison For Letting Toddler Die

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Melissa Louise Hokanson (credit: Dakota County Sheriff's Office)

Melissa Louise Hokanson (credit: Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The 21-year-old Minnesota mother accused of failing to get medical help for her toddler was sentenced to one year in prison Thursday.

The Dakota County attorney charged Melissa Louise Hokanson, of Northfield, with manslaughter and child neglect charges in the death of 17-month-old Nicholas Miller. She pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Hokanson will also serve 10 years of probation.

The child’s stepfather, Tylar Hokanson, was previously convicted in the child’s death. He was accused of shaking the toddler so hard it caused bleeding in his brain, a broken back, blunt force trauma and other injuries. The boy died June 23, 2009 at a relative’s house in Pierce County, Wis. — four days after he was injured.

A criminal complaint filed against the boy’s mother says she watched the child’s health decline over four days until his death, but did not get medical care for him.

Investigators said Melissa Hokanson watched her son lose color, stop eating and struggle to walk and breathe before he died.

Doctors said if someone would’ve stepped in to help the toddler, he’d be alive today.

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