MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree manslaughter in connection with the 2012 death of the woman’s 1-year-old son, according to officials.
Kentae Todd, 22, of Coon Rapids pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier and was sentenced on July 22 to more than 11 years in prison. Twenty-eight-year-old Shacara Foster, of St. Bonifacius, pleaded guilty Wednesday and will be sentenced on Oct. 8. She is expected to get more than seven years in prison.
The toddler’s death was ruled a homicide by the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in late April.
Sheriff Rich Stanek, of Hennepin County, said the child suffered multiple broken bones, hemorrhages and cigarette burns.
On Feb. 10, 2012, authorities were dispatched around 11:30 p.m. to a home on the 3700 block of Hillview Lane on a report of a baby not breathing.
Police determined the baby was Foster’s. She was staying at the home with her boyfriend, identified as Todd, plus his mother, stepfather and Todd’s 11 siblings.
An investigation revealed the home where the 18-month-old, Cottrell Short, was staying contained garbage, rotting food, several animals, dead animals, animal waste and had “otherwise filthy conditions,” according to the charges.
Todd told police he was watching Short in the days before his death, after Foster left for a couple of days. Todd said the boy vomited on Feb. 9 and didn’t eat or drink anything after that. He said on Feb. 10, Short had a temperature of 102.6 and was crying all day.
Todd told police he gave the child Tylenol fever reducer and called Foster to come home. Sometime on the evening of Feb. 10, Todd said he left the house to go to the store and left Short sleeping without supervision.
He admitted to police he smoked marijuana that night before returning home. When Foster came home that night, she found Short not breathing. Someone else in the home then called 911.
Short died the next day at the Ridgeview Hospital in Waconia.
The Medical Examiner said Short’s death was a result of many causes, including sepsis from a burn, hemoperitoneum, peritonitis, abdominal and head injuries (including skull fracture and hemorrhages). The injuries were due to neglect and multiple debilitating injuries of varying ages.
“This young boy simply didn’t deserve to die,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “Ms. Foster and Mr. Todd have received considerable punishment for their role in taking this youngster’s life. Although justice was accomplished, we are still saddened by the loss of this innocent life.”
When Foster made her guilty plea, she admitted she left her son with an inadequate caregiver and that she knew the child had been burned but did not check on him until hours later.