An Arizona woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by leaving her child in the desert to die.
Ashley Denise Attson, 23, was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release for the “‘intentional, cold-hearted, horrendous killing of an innocent child,” reports AZ Central.
In September 2016, Attson pushed her 17-month-old child in a stroller into the middle of the desert and left the child there for four days and nights. The mother, who lived on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, reportedly spent those four days going out with friends for ice cream and posting pictures on Facebook, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona. She eventually went back to the spot she deserted her child to bury the body. Attson left her little girl inside a trash bag in an animal hole.
“When she returned, the child was dead.”
She had only gained custody of the child two months before leaving her to die. Attson lost the baby when she was born because the infant had methamphetamine in her system. Tribal social services immediately took custody of the baby.
U.S. attorney’s spokesman Cosme Lopez did not disclose the child’s name, as she was a juvenile. Lopez also did not mention a motive for the killing, nor did he give any further details on the circumstances of the little girl’s death.
Attson’s plea agreement said the 23-year-old could have spent life in prison for the murder. A former tribe prosecutor said the light sentence was unsettling.
Bernadine Martin, a former chief prosecutor for the Navajo Nation, said the child must have been terrified out in the desert alone, “needing the one person who is supposed to care for her the most, that being the mother. And 20 years is simply not enough.”