Mother Sentenced To 30 Years In Infant Son's Death

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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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