WARSAW — A Warsaw woman, appearing tearful in Kosciusko County Superior Court 1, will not serve any jail time in connection to a 2017 incident that resulted in the death of her infant daughter.
Marissa Jean Moore Brown, 21, with a last known address of 4330 N. Old Road 15, Warsaw, pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2018, to neglect of a dependent, a level 6 felony. She appeared in court on Thursday, Feb. 7 for sentencing.
On Oct. 30, 2017, sheriff’s deputies responded to an unresponsive infant at the Old Road 15 address. When police arrived, emergency medical personnel were administering aid to the child, who was later transported to Kosciusko Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead. According to the affidavit of probable cause, officers were told by Brown and the baby’s father that the child had been sleeping in the same bed as the adults and that they awoke to find the baby unresponsive. Officers noted finding a baby bottle with the nipple cut to make the hole larger and discovered the bottle contained formula mixed with cereal to make a thick paste. The reported stated that Brown told officials with Child Protective Services that the nipple had been torn by a cleaning brush and that the cereal was used to thicken the milk due to the larger hole.
Indiana Forensic Center Pathologist Scott Wagner reported that an autopsy revealed the child died from aspiration of food and unsafe sleeping.
“Marissa was, at the time, the mother of three other children and was using illegal drugs,” said Deputy Prosecutor Brad Voelz during the sentencing.
Brown’s defense attorney, Dana Leon, told Superior Court 1 Judge David Cates that her client pleaded guilty without the benefit of an agreement. “She has come before the court and has thrown herself on the mercy of the court,” Leon said as Brown used facial tissue to wipe away tears. “She has made choices and she regrets those choices. I cannot express enough the remorse that Marissa feels.”
Brown told Cates that her role as a mother to the rest of her children motivates in the wake of the incident. “I need them just as much as they need me,” she said. Cates didn’t agree, saying “they need sober, appropriate caregivers,” he said.
Cates sentenced Brown to two years in the Kosciusko County Jail and suspended the jail time in favor of probation. He also gave her credit for two days served behind bars and ordered her to be treated by The Bowen Center.
“There will be no drugs, unless prescribed by a physician, and there will be no alcohol and there will be no tolerance,” Cates said.