A South Carolina woman was sentenced to three years' probation and 60 days of inpatient drug treatment for burying her newborn baby in her backyard.
Tara Lynn Ostrowski, 37, was sentencing on Dec. 3 after pleading guilty to unlawful neglect of a child, WCNC reported. The sentence was mitigated by the circumstances surrounding the child's death, after Ostrowski's attorney told the court his client had been abused by her husband for years, and an investigation found she did not intentionally harm the baby.
"There are not words to describe the remorse I have for the decisions I've made," Ostrowski said in court Dec. 3.
Ostrowski was arrested in July, after a tipster called authorities and told them the South Carolina woman had given birth to a baby boy and had hidden the pregnancy from her husband and relatives. When police arrived at Ostrowski's house, she admitted she had given birth to the child, and showed officers where he was buried, according to NY Daily News.
After ruling the boy's death a homicide, the York County coroner said the baby tested positive for a combination of hydrocodone — a prescription painkiller — and methamphetamine, the NY Daily News reported. After a two-month investigation, authorities determined Ostrowski didn't intentionally inflict harm on the baby, and the death was likely a result of the drugs Ostrowski was taking during her pregnancy.
“There’s no evidence that she intentionally killed the child,” 16th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson told the Herald Online. “The facts of this case don’t lend themselves to a manslaughter.”
Instead, they charged Ostrowski with unlawful conduct toward a child, a charge less severe than manslaughter, but more severe than involuntary manslaughter.
Ostrowski hid her pregnancy because she was terrified of her husband, according to her public defender, Harry Dest. The attorney said his client's husband, Mike Ostrowski, forced her to get an abortion in 2012, and was physically abusive toward her.
"She had 15 staples in her head because she was afraid to go back to her husband," said Dest told the court, according to WCNC.
Angela Waldrop, a friend of Ostrowski's, was among several supporters who gathered in the courtroom to support the South Carolina woman.
"I just really hope that she can find the help that she needs to be the person that I know she can be, and I wish her the very best and I will be here to support her through this," Waldrop said.