MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two Elk River parents were each sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday for the child endangerment and ultimate death of 8-year-old Autumn Hallow in 2020.
Brett Jason Hallow and Sarah Kay Hallow entered guilty pleas to charges which included domestic assault, child endangerment, and second-degree murder. They both agreed to aggravating factors which resulted in the 40-year sentence.
The criminal complaint says that the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office and Elk River police were called to an apartment complex in Elk River, where they found Autumn unresponsive. They noted she was extremely frail, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Autumn lived with her father Brett and stepmother Sarah, along with three other children between the ages of 3 and 10. Two of the children said the parents would tie her up and put her in a red sleeping bag with only her head exposed.
Brett and Sarah denied the claim.
That morning, one child said he heard Autumn screaming in the bathroom, and heard a loud “bang.”
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of death was asphyxial injuries and blunt force trauma, and ruled the death a homicide.
“The loss of a child is grievous; the loss of a child at the hands of two who were entrusted to care for that child is beyond comprehension,” said Kathleen Heaney, Sherburne County Attorney. “While there is no measure in the criminal justice system that accounts for the loss, I hope that the sentencing today will allow the family, friends and community some modicum of comfort knowing that those whose acts led to the loss of A.H. were held accountable.”
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