A Colorado mother whose 7-year-old son was found encased in concrete inside an animal crate has been given the maximum sentence for her role in his death, KUSA-TV reported Wednesday.
Elisha Pankey, 45, was sentenced to 32 years behind bars and 5 years mandatory parole by District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones after she pleaded guilty to the felony charge of child abuse resulting in death.
The outlet noted that the boy’s father, Leland Pankey, was sentenced to 72 years in prison earlier this year.
The couple’s son, Caden, was found dead inside a storage unit in December 2018, but authorities say that he likely died months before that.
According to KMGH-TV, the Denver medical examiner’s office reported that Caden had been severely malnourished and had cocaine metabolite and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death. He also sustained several injuries to his head, trunk, and extremities. The autopsy added it’s possible that he may have suffered from asphyxia, dehydration, or hyperthermia.
Elisha Pankey told investigators last year that her husband abused Caden while she was at work during the day.
The KMGH-TV report added:
Pankey said Caden died in July 2018 after his father kept him in a dog kennel, the affidavit said. A woman who had been in the Arapahoe County Jail with Elisha Pankey in December said Pankey told her that she believed her son suffocated in the dog kennel.
Leland Pankey kept Caden in the kennel overnight — with blankets on top of it — and the boy cried out that he was hot and thirsty, Elisha Pankey told her fellow inmate, according to the affidavit.
On the day Caden died, his mother and father bought Quikrete, trash bags and water, drove Caden’s body to the storage unit on Evans Avenue, and mixed the concrete and poured it into the kennel, the affidavit said.
“The horrific death of Caden McWilliams shocked the conscience and was incomprehensible to the people of Denver,” said District Attorney Beth McCann in a statement Tuesday.
“Now that Elisha Pankey has been sentenced, the legal proceedings in this case have concluded. Yet Caden’s story is one that will always be in my heart, the hearts of our incredible prosecutors, victim advocates and investigators, as well as everyone who knew and loved Caden,” she added.