Mother Sentenced To 30 Years In Infant Son's Death


A judge sentenced Estella Toleafoa to 30 years for the death of her infant son Friday.

Police say that in March of 2011, Toleafoa left her two young children home alone, resulting in her younger child’s death.

According to court papers previously obtained by 11 News, 9-month-old Erich Tyler Jr. and his 2-year-old brother were left in a bathtub when Toleafoa went to a nearby liquor store for cigarettes, then to a restaurant for chicken wings. Toleafoa told police there was an inch of water in the bathtub when she left.

Toleafoa was gone about 20 minutes. She found her infant son unconscious in the bathtub when she returned.

Toleafoa told police the water was running when she returned, and her two-year-old son was out of the tub. She called 911 and began CPR on the baby.

Officers were called to the Lincoln Springs Apartments off South Chelton Road. They were unable to revive the child.

Although she initially pleaded not guilty to child abuse resulting in death, Toleafoa entered a guilty plea in October to the felony charge of child abuse recklessly causing death to a child.

A tearful Toleafoa told the judge at the time she wanted to take responsibility for her actions.

Friday, she addressed the courtroom again.

"I stand before you because of my failure as a mother and is difficult to forgive myself...I have no excuse for my actions."

Erich’s father was serving in Afghanistan at the time of his death. He was in the courtroom Friday morning and walked away from our reporter when asked for a response to the sentencing.

Before handing down the 30-year sentence, the judge told the court "this is beyond a mistake. It is a severe level of recklessness."

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  • by A Father on Jan 24, 2012 at 06:10 PM
    She deserves so much more than what she received. That Babies last moments in life were horrific... :-(
  • by A mother on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:26 AM
    A poor babie is in heaven now because of a mother that should have been a mother I have two children that are my life. I don't understand why ANYONE would leave their babies alone in a bath tub period!!!!!!!!! Being a mother of two my self means doing EVERYTHING AND I MEAN EVERTHING for your children first!!!!!!! Sometimes I go 2 / 3 days without a shower, sometimes I dont eat right away why because being a parent means giving your beautiful children EVERYTHING!!!!! All of your attention and love!!!!!! This means forgetting that chicken wings and cigarette even exist for the sake of spending time, loving and caring about your children!!!!!! This means even when your children are asleep in the car and you need to get out taking then with you.. This means NEVER LEAVING THEM ALONE ANYWHERE FOR ANY REASON!!!!!!! Being a parent means devotion ALL OF YOU TO YOUR CHILDREN !!!!!!!
  • by S Location: COS on Jan 20, 2012 at 01:40 PM
    Don "won" is it? I hope you're sterile!
  • by Don won on Jan 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM
    Come on ppl this lady is not as bad as Casey Anthony I do agree she needs the jail time but not the rude comments we are all humans I'm sure we have our fair share of wrong doings
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM in reply to Don won
      Yeah...there's a HUGE difference between making little mistakes and KILLING A CHILD, wouldn't you agree? Anyone who kills another person deserves every bad thing that happens to them.
  • by RICO Location: Springs on Jan 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM
    Oh, boy! Another reality show!
  • by Colo Location: C.S. on Jan 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM
    Well one things for sure, she won't have to worry about a smoking habit when she gets in prison...cold turkey baby!
    • reply
      by @colo on Jan 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM in reply to Colo
      Theres more tobacco and drugs in the prisons then there is on the street. Don't count on it pal.
      • reply
        by Jeff on Jan 20, 2012 at 08:43 PM in reply to @colo
        Speaking from experience?
  • by not perfect on Jan 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM
    to her friend: mabey she does feel terrible about this she should. i think just about any one knows you dont leave one baby in charge of another for any reason much less for food and cigs! especially in a tub of water!!
  • by Glorious on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM
    Wait, let me guess. We are going to set up a fund in a local bank for this freak. She'll need money in the big house to get her smoke on. I'm not exactly sure if they have wings there, so maybe she'll have to make a wing run....hopefully her cellmate isn't sitting in an inch of water :-)
  • by Alia Location: Colorado Springs on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM
    She essentially left her children to be watched by 1" of water in a bath tub. How is it excessive exactly?? It is beyond stupid and blatant neglect of her children. Any person with half a brain cell knows that there is a legal age to leave your minor unattended at home and any parent worth a darn knows when their child is mature enough to be left alone once they have reached the LEGAL age. There is no way this woman assumed at the ripe age of 9 months and 2 years that her kids had reached that point. She failed to keep her kids safe and 1 of them paid the ultimate price for it. Does it sound to me she deserves the max sentence, as a mother and a rational thinking person, heck yes she does, she gets no pity from me!
  • by Alicia Location: Colorado Springs on Jan 20, 2012 at 09:33 AM
    Also, I don't get this whole sympathy for the mom thing. You know what's sad? That the baby suffered as he drowned because his mom couldn't wait for cigarettes and chicken wings! You know what's sad? That the 2 year old is being left without his brother or a mom because she couldn't wait for cigarettes and chicken wings! People, she traded *cigarettes* and *chicken wings* for her chilldren's safety and her baby's life! And it doesn't matter if she was stressed out! You DO NOT leave your babies unattended for *cigarettes* and *chicken wings*, period! So what if she feels bad! She MURDERED her child by leaving him in a bath tub, unsupervised, to get cigarettes and chicken wings. It's simply luck that the 2 year old is still alive! Save your sympathy people for the baby that struggled to breathe while she got her cigarettes and chicken wings.
    • reply
      by Fred on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:37 AM in reply to Alicia
      Have you ever had a hankering for cigarettes and chicken wings? If you had, you wouldn't be so quick to judge.
      • reply
        by S on Jan 20, 2012 at 01:41 PM in reply to Fred
        You're stupid, Fred!
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