(Aurora, Ind.) – Two parents who failed to take their injured twin babies to a doctor or hospital will each spend years in prison.
Last September, doctors advised detectives that the twin infants of Bobbie Michelle Sylvia and Deshawn Halsel had broken ribs. One of the infants had brain bleeding, which doctors at the hospital said was most likely caused by shaking.
Sylvia and Halsel both denied abusing the twins, contending that the injuries could have been caused by their one-year-old daughter during an incident while jumping on a bed a couple weeks earlier. Sylvia told the detective that the injuries could have been caused during or prior to birth.
The parents allegedly noticed one of the babies’ head beginning to swell three or four days before Sylvia’s mother notice the severe swelling. She urged the parents to take the children to the hospital immediately. Under questioning, both parents told detectives they had been waiting to get one of the infants checked out at a scheduled doctor’s appointment the next day.
Sylvia, 28, and Halsel, 36, were arrested in October. Now, each has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in Dearborn County.
On February 19, Halsel pleaded guilty to Neglect of a Dependant (Class B felony) and Possession of a Controlled Substance within 1,000 Feet of a School (Class C felony). Sylvia pleaded guilty on February 27 to Neglect of a Dependant Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (Class B felony). Each parent saw two addition neglect charges dismissed.
Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James D. Humphrey sentenced Halsel on February 22 to 16 years for the neglect charge and four years for the possession charge, to be served consecutively. He was given credit for 138 days served in jail since his arrest, multiplied to 276 days for good time credit. Halsel will remain in the Indiana Department of Corrections until at least October 3, 2020.
Sylvia learned her sentence on March 18. Humphrey handed her a 20 year sentence with 16 years suspended to probation. She’ll do more than three years in prison, but the final 180 days of her term will be served on intensive home incarceration. She received good time credit for 330 days.