Centralia mom sentenced to prison in 2-year-old daughter's death

Centralia mom sentenced to prison  in 2-year-old daughter's death
Koralynn Fister
CENTRALIA, Wash. -- A mother whose 2-year-old daughter was murdered by her boyfriend, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison Thursday for failing to protect the girl from abuse, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.

Becky Heupel was charged in March with second-degree criminal mistreatment and received the sentence from Judge James Lawler in Lewis County Superior Court Thursday morning.

Heupel's daughter Koralynn Fister drowned in a bathtub in May 2012 while being watched by Heupel's boyfriend, James Reeder.

Reeder already got 37 years in the child abuse death of on March 6.

But investigators discovered that Reeder had repeatedly raped the child and hurt her so badly that patches of skin were missing from her body and her toes, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Meyer earlier expressed sympathy for the mother but said she must be punished for her choices.

"After reviewing all the evidence and speaking with the officers who investigated the case as well as the deputes who handled the prosecution of Mr. Reeder, it is my office's belief that (Heupel) was reckless in her actions and knew of the dangers and chose to disregard that," Meyer said. "And obviously it had tragic consequences."

Reeder accepted an Alford Plea in January where he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that he would likely be convicted. He was sentenced to 37 years after a scathing statement from Lawler saying he wished he could sentence him to 100 years.

Heupel didn't speak at that sentencing, instead having a victim's advocate read her written statement that expressed her anger at Reeder:

"You took both precious gifts of God away from me," Heupel wrote. "You betrayed everyone's trust but most of all my little defenseless baby. Pretending to help me and all the while using my beloved daughter for your own evilness."