Indiana Woman Jailed For Ignoring Child's Injuries

| by Jordan Smith
Jessica WagonerJessica Wagoner

An Indiana mother of three will serve 25 years in jail after failing to seek medical attention for her 1-year-old daughter Zoey, who later died.

Jessica Wagoner, 33, was given the 25-year sentence followed by 12 years of probation, March 17, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Police described Zoey as having “lived in hell for a year.” She suffered multiple blunt force injuries caused by an assault, and died with cuts and bruises on her body and bones in various stages of healing.

Jessica pleaded guilty in February, and also admitted to neglecting her other two children.

“I think this entire community is glad to put that incredibly sad chapter behind us,” Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton told the Star. “It was a terrible, senseless crime where a beautiful girl was killed for no reason.”

Matthew Wagoner, Zoey’s father, was found guilty by a jury of killing the 1-year-old girl, and is now serving a 65-year prison sentence.

Matthew walked past the local hospital with his daughter the day she died, choosing instead to go to a gas station for a soft drink.

When first responders arrived May 28, 2015, they found Zoey foaming at the mouth with bruises all over her body, according to WXIN.

An autopsy on Zoey revealed some injuries had been inflicted months before.

Text messages discovered between Jessica and Matthew proved that they were aware of Zoey’s deteriorating condition. But Jessica said she was concerned about taking her to hospital in case child protection services became involved.

During their first court appearance, Matthew and Jessica attempted to blame each other for their daughter’s death. Matthew alleged Jessica had smacked and punched Zoey, while Jessica told the court about Matthew’s previous child neglect charges.

They also told investigators Zoey’s injuries were caused when she fell from a bed.

Matthew remained unrepentant after he was sentenced.

“I’m not going to apologize for what I did,” he said, according to the Indiana Daily Student. “I accept neglect but nothing else.”

He vowed to appeal his conviction.

Both Jessica and Matthew received the longest possible sentences for their crimes.

Sources: Indianapolis Star, WXIN, Indiana Daily Student / Photo credit: Hancock County Jail via Indianapolis Star