A Colorado judge sentenced 25-year-old Meghan McKeon to 22 years in prison Wednesday after McKeon pleaded guilty to one count of fatal child abuse.
McKeon admitted to causing the death of her 3-year-old son, Austin Davis, in exchange for prosecutors dropping a second child abuse charge against her, the Daily Mail reports.
Austin died March 27 after McKeon returned home to her Steamboat Springs cabin and found the child unresponsive.
An autopsy revealed he died of dehydration.
McKeon initially told police she left her son with a baby sitter while she went to spend the night with her boyfriend and was surprised to return home and find him alone.
Prosecutors initially charged her with three misdemeanor counts of child abuse that carried a maximum sentence of 42 months, according to CBS-Denver But as more details in the case emerged, and McKeon’s story changed, those charges were dropped and she was charged with the felony for which she was just sentenced.
McKeon admitted later to routinely leaving the boy alone in the cabin while she went to her job at a local supermarket, police said. That had been going on for a month, she reportedly told police.
Authorities who searched the cabin said it had no running water and was covered with human feces and half-eaten food.
Prosecutors said that when Austin died he had been left alone for three days without food or water.
McKeon said in court Tuesday that, when Austin died, she had been “spending time with a bottle” chasing unattainable dreams, according to a report from The Associated Press. She told the judge she did not intentionally hurt her son.
“I know nothing I say or do will bring my little boy back, but I have hope for a brighter future," she said, adding that she wanted to start an organization to help women.
District Judge Shelley Hill wasn’t particularly moved by her claims.
“The result that happened was inevitable, and you knew it was when you were doing it,” Hill told McKeon before sentencing her.
McKeon will receive credit for the 223 days she has already spent behind bars.
PhotoSource: AP via the Daily Mail