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Mother pleads no contest to charges in son’s abuse death

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MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin woman could spend two decades in prison after pleading no contest to felony charges in the child abuse death of her son in Two Rivers.

Rena Santiago, 27, entered pleas to three amended charges including neglecting a child causing death in Manitowoc County court on Thursday. As part of a plea deal, District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre said she recommends Santiago serve 20 years in state prison followed by 10 years of extended supervision when she’s sentenced in May, according to the Herald Times Reporter.

Santiago’s 2-year-old son, Gilbert Grant II, died last April. David Heiden, 29, pleaded guilty to causing the boy’s death while babysitting him and was sentenced earlier this week to life in prison.

According to the criminal complaint, Heiden hit the boy because he wasn’t taking a nap. After a short time, Heiden shook the boy and forced him into a metal arm of a futon bed while hitting him. The boy died later that day from internal bleeding.

Santiago’s roommate, Bianca Bush, also faces physical abuse of a child charges for alleged abuse in the months leading up to the boy’s death. Bush is due in court for a scheduling conference on March 4.

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