A 23-year-old Fremont woman was sentenced to 30 months of probation after her 2-year-old daughter died in her care.
“It strikes the court to its core any time there is a death of a child,” Judge Geoffrey Hall said. “It troubles me to a great extent.”
Madison S. Craig was also sentenced to 180 days in the Dodge County Jail, but had a show cause hearing set for March 7, 2022, to determine if she would have to serve time.
On Oct. 30, 2020, members of the Fremont Police Department and Fremont Fire Department responded to a report of an unresponsive child. The child was declared brain dead two days later and measures to maintain life were removed on Nov. 4, 2020.
Craig told FPD officers that she had told the child to go back to bed shortly after 9 a.m. Around 10 minutes later, she walked into the child’s room and found her with a blinds cord around her neck.
Craig had been cited three times previously by FPD in the months prior to the accident in regards to children not being supervised. The investigation found that others told Craig that the blinds were a “death sentence.”
As she also acknowledged the cord posing a threat, Craig was charged with child abuse for the death of her daughter. She pleaded no contest to the charge on May 24.
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Deputy Dodge County Attorney Emily Beamis said she was not opposed to a probation term for Craig, as well as employment enhancement and for her to follow the terms of her juvenile court case.
Judge Geoffrey Hall said he was “troubled” by the case and noted that Craig took responsibility for the death in a letter, but ultimately decided to sentence her to intensive supervised probation.
“I do believe, based on the recommendation and other information contained herein, I could send you to prison. You probably deserve that, based on what happened here,” he told her. “However, that’s not going to help you become a better person, a better mother, someone that’s responsible.”
For her jail sentence, Craig was given credit for three days previously served. Hall said he could waive her show cause hearing prior to it taking place, which would determine if she would serve the sentence.
Additionally, Hall said Craig must attend counseling and comply with her mental health treatment and any prescribed medication. Along with Beamis’ requests, he also ordered Craig to take part in 30 hours of community service and a women’s trauma group.
“You have the opportunity to turn things around, but you’re going to have to make significant changes,” Hall told Craig. “You’ll have to get control of your life and turn things around in a positive fashion.”
In other district court news on Monday:
- Cassandra D. Nicholls, 30, of Colon had her probation extended by one year after admitting to violating the terms of her probation. On May 4, 2020, Nicholls was sentenced to 30 months of ISP for possession of a controlled substance. A motion to revoke her probation was made on April 27 after she was arrested in Saunders County on April 26 for possession of a controlled substance. After admitting to the violation, Nicholls was found guilty by Hall. Beamis said she supported a probation term for Nicholls, as it would give her enough time to see if she can complete the program and would extend past her time in the Saunders County Drug Court. Nicholls said she was preparing to go into treatment and knew that she would have the support of those on the drug court team. Along with Nicholls’ probation sentence, Hall also dismissed her custodial sanction.
- Derek E. Baker, 31, of North Bend pleaded no contest to possession of child pornography. On July 10, 2019, the Nebraska State Patrol Technical Crimes Unit received a tip from the Missouri State Highway Patrol that Baker, who had recently moved to Nebraska, had downloaded child pornography. After obtaining a search warrant, NSP investigators entered his apartment, but no electronics were found. Upon returning to the apartment, Baker provided investigators with his phone, where they found more than 200 photos containing child pornography. Hall found Baker guilty, ordered a presentence investigation and set his sentencing for Aug. 13.
- Israel Mendez-Carreto, 29, of Fremont, pleaded no contest to attempted child neglect resulting in serious injury. On Nov. 24, 2020, FPD officers were dispatched to a possible death of a 1-year-old, who was taken to the hospital and resuscitated. The child, which was under the care of Mendez-Carreto, was found to have ingested Methadone, which was prescribed to one of the child’s guardians. As part of his plea deal, Beamis said she would not be opposed to a probation term for Mendez-Carreto, who was on probation for previously failing to supervise the child. Hall found Mendez-Carreto guilty, ordered a PSI and set his sentencing for Sept. 7.
- Jodi M. Robichaud, 39, of Wahoo was not present for her status hearing for possession of a controlled substance. Beamis said Robichaud had rejected a plea deal, requested a new attorney and was notified that she had a hearing today. Hall issued a bench warrant at 10% of $150,000 for her arrest.