A Missouri mother who admitted to letting her blind and autistic son die in a field could spend as little as 120 days behind bars.
According to the Springfield News-Leader, Kimberly Lightwine, 43, pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse in connection with the 2016 death of her son, Austin Anderson, 19. Prior to the plea deal, she faced second-degree murder charges.
Lightwine’s attorney, Jason Coatney, told the newspaper that his client will enter a 120-day substance abuse program during her incarceration. She will be eligible for five years probation if she completes the program. She faces an additional seven years in prison if she doesn’t, he said.
Prosecutors said Anderson had “multiple handicaps” and couldn’t survive without medication. Authorities found the pair both nearly naked on a Morrisville farm on August 29, 2016. An autopsy suggested that Anderson was dehydrated and possibly went into shock because he didn’t have his medication, the newspaper reported. The harsh conditions caused Anderson’s brain to swell and resulted in the dilation of a ventricle in his heart.
Polk County Prosecutor Ken Ashlock said witnesses spotted Lightwine wandering near the field where they would be found two days later. The witnesses claimed the mother “appeared confused” and asked “about someone who wasn’t there and pointing toward a field,” he said, according to the Bolivar Herald-Free Press.
Witnesses claimed they asked Lightwine if they could help her but she got back into her vehicle and took a sharp turn into the field where Anderson would die, Ashlock said.
An online fundraising page stated that Lightwine was drugged and had a broken leg and jaw when she was found. In court, she said she knew Anderson needed the medications but couldn’t give it to him because she was injured.
However, Lightwine admitted to investigators that she had used meth and told an officer, “I killed my kid.”
“She does believe that there were other people involved that inflicted violence upon her that caused her to not be able to deliver the aid and treatment that her son needed,” the defense attorney told KY3. “But, under the circumstances, she acknowledged her involvement with these people certainly led to these consequences.”
The Missouri mother is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29.
[Featured Image: Kimberly Lightwine, Austin Anderson/Facebook]