Sheilla E. Linares, 22, has pleaded guilty to abusing 2-month-old Thomas Castellon II in December 2013, ultimately resulting in the child’s death.
Linares was baby-sitting Thomas, his 3-year-old sister and her own two children at her Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home when the infant became fussy, USA Today reported. She admitted to hurting the child and he became unresponsive a short while later.
Thomas ultimately died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on Dec. 7, 2013 and an autopsy found the cause of death was blunt force injuries to his head and neck.
As part of her plea agreement, Linares accepted charges of first-degree felony manslaughter as opposed to the original charge, first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. The case was a federal matter because the crime occurred at an Army post.
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At the time of the incident, Thomas’ mother was in shock. “She was our friend, and I didn’t want to believe it,” Lucy Castellon told USA Today in 2014. Linares had taken care of her older daughter for four years. She said she was glad that Linares was ultimately arrested.
“Obviously, it’s a big relief something has been done,” she said. “They told us she is facing life in prison. It was a relief to know she wasn’t just facing 12-15 years, because nobody’s life can be valued at that. He was our son and would have lived many years.
“We have been praying for justice, and we are happy we are getting it.”
Linares will spend 18 years in prison and three years of supervised release. The federal justice system does not offer the possibility of parole.