Two sisters have pleaded guilty to child abuse, among other charges, after police found a pair of toddlers emaciated and nearly starved to death in November 2016, as reported by KOTA.
South Dakota resident Darshan Featherman, 31, entered her plea in federal court on Friday morning. Darcel Featherman, 34, pleaded guilty in September, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Darcel is mother to the two unidentified toddlers, who were found on the Pine Ridge Reservation in a near-death condition, with doctors comparing them to prisoners in a World War II concentration camp.
The children, aged 2 and 3, were found on the floor, covered in blankets. When authorities removed the blankets they found two sickly thin toddlers, each clocking in at 13 pounds.
The doctor who treated the children told police that they would have surely died if they had not been found, noting that each child was wearing only a diaper and could barely move. One child was later found to have gone blind, due to “chronic non-accidental trauma to her brain.”
Darcel had reportedly given up custody of the children for reasons not known, with one going to her sister and the other to the pair’s mother.
Darshan had told authorities that she was unable to properly care for the toddlers due to substance abuse issues. Darcel confirmed this information as she addressed the court, saying that her sister was a “methamphetamine user and an alcoholic.” She did not offer up any reason as to why she thought she would be a proper guardian for a toddler.
Darcel and Darshan Featherman face charges of child abuse and child neglect. They could face 15 years behind bars. The dates for their sentencing hearings have yet to be determined.
The children have been placed under the custody of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, it has been noted.
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